On Monday, Aug. 23, Miss Philippines Maria Venus Raj randomly selected William Baldwin as her judge for her final question in the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant. He asked, “What is one big mistake that you’ve made in your life and what did you do to make it right?“ Stalling to think of an answer, she thanked Baldwin for “that wonderful question,“ then said hello to the audience, giving her 10 seconds to think of what to say. She proceeded to answer the question by saying “…There is nothing major, major, I mean problem that I have done in my life…“
Just three years ago, another beauty pageant contestant gave an answer that was less than acceptable. Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina, was asked during Miss Teen USA 2007, “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map, why do you think this is?“ Understandably nervous by the importance of the question, she gave an answer that made everyone question her intelligence:
“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps. And I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere, like such as. And I believe that they should-our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. Or should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq, and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”
Upton did not win Miss Teen USA, but instead attempted to do some damage control by going on various talk shows defending her image by attempting to prove she was not as dumb as people perceived her to be. Although she was unable to live down the moment, Upton began to embrace it and appeared on MTV’s Video Music Awardsshow, where she parodied herself in a short film.
She also appeared on such shows as The Today Show, Tosh.0, Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and, of course, on season 16 of reality show Amazing Race, where she competed as a contestant along side her boyfriend, Brent Horne, this past winter. Although Upton and Horne came in third place in the Amazing Race, they did better than most people might have expected.
Botched answers during pageants are a bit uncommon, since the girls practice answering tough and controversial questions, but they do occur. Usually a pageant girl can live down the moment after a few days, perhaps even months. Since the Miss Universe 2010 Pageant was televised, many tuned in worldwide to watch. And, for those who didn’t, there are always Internet videos in which one can watch the highlights.
Much like Upton’s horrible answer, Raj might become an Internet video sensation in which she is mocked and ridiculed. But don’t pull out the nails just yet! As Upton has shown us, you can come back from such a blunder and thrive, which further proves that there is no such thing as bad press. Her lost crown might be a blessing in disguise.
Perhaps we can expect to see Raj on the upcoming MTV’s Video Music Awardsalso parodying herself. There is always the possibility Raj will show up on a future season of Big Brother, or any other reality show, as a contestant in which the cameras will catch her making a mistake.
Caitlin Upton’s IMDB Page
Miss Teen USA 2007 – South Carolina Answers a Question Uploaded by: IRamzayI
Miss Philippines Venus Raj, Miss Universe 2010 – Questions and Answers Uploaded by: PINASISM2