Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Miss South Carolina: Looks 10, Brains 3

"...Because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and..." Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina

Well. Okay. She's a teenager. She got nervous. Overwhelmed. Began free associating. Rambled aimlessly, even including Iraq and South Africa in her bizarre answer to her Interview question in the Miss Teen USA pageant.

Here's the question: Recent polls have shown that a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?

Excuse me, but that's a great big ole softball. Even for a nervous teenager. Especially for an 18-year-old honor student. Her answer could have included any number of variations on the subject of Education.

We need more teachers. We need better schools. People should stay in school. American schools should stress more geography. People spend too much time on MySpace, Facebook and chatrooms and not enough time learning things.

You can think of more answers. My 12-year-old niece can think of plenty. (That last one was hers.)

But Caitlin blanked. Made a fool of herself on national TV. Yeah, it's a shame. Yeah, she's young. But 18 is plenty old enough to know that if you enter a major beauty contest, you're taking a major risk.

Are you going to look fat in your Bathing Suit? Trip in your Evening Gown? Or flub the all important Final Interview? Door number three for Caitlin, who became the laughingstock of the Internet.

But wait! The Today Show gave Caitlin a do-over. For which she had FOUR days to prepare. A risk-free chance to redeem herself with a well thought out, fluid, articulate answer.

So here's what she said:
"Personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on our map. I don't know anyone else who doesn't. And if the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography in our education so people will learn how to read maps better."
Personally, I'm underwhelmed.

If you ask me, pageant winner Hilary Cruz had the toughest question and got the answer exactly right. When asked who she'd choose as a role model--Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan or Nicole Ritchie--she looked suitably appalled and said firmly, NONE of them. She went on to list her mother as her primary role model ... the Perfect Pageant Answer.

As for Miss South Carolina, if you're wondering, it wasn't a map that made Iraq and South Africa pop into her mind and out of her mouth -- Angelina Jolie has been traveling there.

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Anonymous Marcy said...

You're so right, Sally. Not a great role model for other teens, is she.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Lina said...

Too bad the real winner is getting no attention. And she's Hispanic too, a good role model for many young Latinas.

12:21 PM  

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