Miss Utah’s flub of a question about the gender pay gap saw the beauty queen widely mocked on the web after she “spaced” on NeNe Leakes’ query and talked a whole of nonsense — but Today‘s Matt Lauer gave the contestant a chance to clarify her statement this morning.
Miss Utah Marissa Powell became an unfortunately viral star when she was caught off guard by Leakes during the questions portion of the pageant — the Real Housewives star had asked:
“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 it say about society?”
Miss Utah replied:
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 right now … I think, especially the men are … um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to … create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”
Wait, did she just say men are the “leaders of this?” What does that even mean?
Powell sat down to discuss what is now known as the “Miss Utah flub” with Matt Lauer, and the Today host gamely played the part of NeNe Leakes in Miss Utah’s redo.
With Lauer posing the question again, Utah got a shot to really answer the question, and gave a much better response regarding what is a serious issue for females in the US:
“This is not OK … 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.”
Powell also explained her viral confusion, telling Lauer what happened and relaying a story anyone who has frozen in a job interview or similar scenario can appreciate:
“I was so excited, and I was so nervous, and I got up to this top-five question … I was the first one. I got up, and the question was a little bit confusing to me, and I just started speaking without really processing.”
As Lauer notes on Today, Miss Utah came in at an impressive fourth place despite her high-profile bungling of the question.