Marissa Powell, otherwise known as Miss Utah, became a familiar face to many of us this week when the video of her bumbling her way through an interview question during the Miss USA pageant went viral.
Finals judge, NeNe Leakes, put a question about the gender pay gap to Powell. “A recent report shows that in 40% 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 Powell’s response was incomprehensible. “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 so we need to try to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem,” she rambled.
While failing to take home the top prize, Powell was, despite her bungled attempt at an answer, awarded third runner-up and Miss Photogenic.
More importantly perhaps, she was also awarded a shot at redemption when she was asked to appear on the Today show. Powell admitted to being very nervous during the pageant and to starting to speak before she had thought about the question, which she had found ‘confusing’. She was then given a second stab at answering the question by anchor Matt Lauer who repeated it to her verbatim. This time Powell made a much more succinct and coherent, and pretty admirable answer.
“So this is not OK,” she said. “It needs to be equal pay for equal work. It’s hard enough already to earn a living, and it shouldn’t be harder just because you’re a woman.”
Watch the original answer here and the Today show clip here.