There may not be second acts in American life, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once declared, but it appears there may be do-overs, at least for hapless Miss Utah.
Marissa Powell, 21, of Salt Lake City and the contestant from Utah in Sunday's Miss USA pageant, messed up in the Q&A portion of the contest, thus joining the long list of famous flubs gone viral.
But NBC's Today show gave her a second chance to answer the "confusing" question, and this time, she didn't bomb when she sat down with Matt Lauer and Erin Brady, the contestant from Connecticut who actually won the pageant to become Miss USA.
On Sunday night, Powell was asked her thoughts on the fact that women still earn less than men in America. She froze and stammered, sounding incoherent with such phrases as "to create education better."
On Tuesday morning, she did much better. Unequal pay "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."
Amens all around. Powell, a singer who ended up the third runner-up, explained that nerves got the better of her on Sunday night in Las Vegas. But the question, from NeNe Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta, was confusing, too, some said.
"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?" asked Leakes.
Powell isn't the only beauty queen to botch the Q&A and likely won't be the last. And it may be that the 2007 Miss South Carolina's flub was even worse: When asked why some Americans can't find their country on a map, her response was unintelligible and mentioned something about a map shortage in the USA.
Maria Puente , USA TODAY