Twenty-one-year-old Miss Utah Marissa Powell had recently been crowned as social media’s latest sweetheart. She competed for the Miss USA 2013 crown last Sunday and got 15 minutes of fame, thanks to the pageant’s final round. In response to judge Nene Leakes’ question on her opinion of a society where women earn less than men, Powell responded, “I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think especially the men are seen as the leaders of this. And so we need to know how to create education better so that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”
Within minutes, social networking sites were abuzz with the latest casualty in the much-anticipated interview round. Luckily for Powell, a recent talk show allowed her to redeem herself with a second shot at the same question. In the presence of newly crowned Miss USA Erin Brady of Connecticut, Powell confidently replied, “So this is not okay. It needs to be equal pay for equal work. And it’s hard enough already to earn a living. And it shouldn’t be harder because you are a woman.”
Hall of shame
While hype over Miss Utah’s gaffe is slowly dying a natural death, others have cemented their respective spots in the pageant world’s hall of fame— or shame, depending on how one looks at it. Super compiled some of the most memorable question-and-answer blunders in recent history.
Binibining Pilipinas, the country’s most prestigious beauty pageant, has a rich history. Along with its 50 years of existence comes a line-up of unforgettable Q&A moments. Do you remember these beauty queens?
To date, the 2008 pageant probably remains the most discussed.
Judge: What role did your family play with you as candidate to Binibining Pilipinas?
Contestant: Well, my family’s role for me is so important because they was the one who’s … very … haha. Oh I’m so sorry. My family … my family … Oh my God. I’m so sorry. I told you that I am so confident. Heto uhm, wait. Hahahaha! Sorry guys, because this was really my first pageant ever because I am only 17 years old. And I did not expect that I came from one of the top 10. So … but I said that my family is the most important persons in my life. Thank you!
During the 1993 pageant, one of the favorites won one of the crowns, but not without her epic slip.
Host: Let me ask you, what for you, were your most unforgettable moments during this competition?
Contestant: The day we spent, uhm … the day we spent … we spent the day with the children.
Host: Ladies and gentlemen, please … please lang (to the noisy, laughing audience).
Contestant: We spent the day at the Araneta, uhm …
Host: Binibining Pilipinas Charities took you somewhere?
Contestant: The charity … I love working with children. I love children. I believe that we should … we should … we should …
Host: Don’t be so scared. You are so beautiful. You are standing here. Don’t be worried, okay? Just tell me. I know the crowd is getting unruly. Tell me what you feel. What did you feel that day?
Contestant: The children are our only hope for the future.
This next Q&A moment was from the 2012 pageant.
Judge: Social media has forever changed the world and made it a smaller place. What disadvantages do you see in this form of communication?
Contestant: This communication … give us … ano … Good evening, Araneta! The communication give us … (bell rings) Everyone of us have that … (bell rings)
Judge repeats question.
Contestant: Communication help us reach to our relatives, our loved ones that we truly love. And this love reminds me of a quote saying … by Mother Teresa: “In this world, you cannot do great things. You can only do small things with great love.” Thank you very much.
Beautiful or smart?
From Bb. Pilipinas 2001 competition:
Judge: If you were given a chance to choose to become beautiful but not too smart, or smart but not too beautiful, what do you prefer to be, and why?
Host: Can you repeat it just one more time? (to judge)
Judge: Beautiful, but not too smart. Basically uhm, not stupid but not too smart. But very smart, but not beautiful— not too beautiful. What would you rather be, beautiful or smart?
Contestant: Well, uhm … (crowd cheers) QUIET please!!! Well I’d rather choose to be beautiful. Uhm, because, uhm, to be beautiful, like uhm it’s natural. But, uhm, being smart, you can learn a lot of things— you can learn from the experience. You can learn a lot of things to be smart.
And here’s one more from the 2012 pageant.
Host: Binibini, I noticed you have a lot of fans. Are you nervous?
Contestant: Well, I feel nervous but I get over such by simply thinking that I can do anything through Christ, Who strengthens me.
Host: Do you feel comfortable answering the question tonight?
Contestant: Yes, indeed I feel comfortable invoking the sensibility of humility especially that my family and friends are here supporting me.
Judge: Good evening! How are you?
Contestant: Good evening! I’m so fine and I feel so great that I’m one of the finalists and I feel so excited that one life will be changed tonight.
Judge: Well you answered the question before I asked it. But, let me try. How will you show the rest of the world that it’s more fun in the Philippines?
Contestant: I can show to the world that it’s more fun in the Philippines because I am nurse by profession and I decided to stay in the Philippines because we have a very beautiful geographical setting, which we can travel through land, air and seas, and I think that we have beautiful people and standing here in front of you right now is an example of the beautiful people of the Philippines. Thank you.
Across the shores, Miss South Carolina Caitlin Upton really stood out in the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007.
Judge: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?
Caitlin: I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps. And I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and … I believe that they should, our education over here in the US should help the US or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we would be able to build up our future for our children.
Offering respite from life’s daily realities, beauty pageants, most especially their interview competitions, keep audiences glued—and amused.