By: Kevin Blair
Miss Connecticut Erin Brady may not have won this year's Miss USA pageant if it wasn't for Miss Utah's Marissa Powell.
During Sunday night's pageant, contestants were asked one question during the interview portion of the competition, and Powell failed miserably, although still managing to hold on to a fourth-place finish.
Judge NeNe Leakes, one of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta, asked Powell, "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"
But the gorgeous Salt Lake City native let her nerves get the best of her when she answered.
“I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive… to…" she said, smiling before a lengthy pause, "figure out how to create jobs… right now.
"That is the biggest problem and … I think, especially the men, are, um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to … create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you."
Marissa's answer brought back memories of Caitlin Upton, aka Miss South Carolina, at the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant, who uttered such phrases as "U.S. Americans," "the Iraq" and "everywhere like such as, and" when asked why 20% of Americans can't find the country on a map.
Powell appeared on "The Today Show" Tuesday morning and had a chance to redeem herself, when host Matt Lauer asked her the question all over again.
“So this is not OK,” she responded. “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 just because you’re a woman.”
Well done Marissa!
The aspiring singer said that she was chosen to go first and was nervous, saying that she "just started speaking without really processing.”
Brady, who appeared on the show also, said she felt bad for Powell when it happened.
“Even though you’re competing your heart goes out to her,” she told Lauer.
As far as the question itself goes, the New York Post ran an opinion piece Tuesday morning, saying the question was worse than Powell's answer.
Calling the question a "politically correct cliche," the paper pointed out that a video at the Independent Women's Forum website (and on YouTube) shows that once certain criteria are factored in, like education levels, type of work, etc., the "wage gap largely disappears" and some women in urban areas are even earning more than men.