Miss Utah USA's bungled interview creates overnight fame, infamy


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  • HSTeacher Boise, ID
    Dec. 3, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    I don't think this was a difficult question. I think she was just first, nervous, and her mind went blank. It happens to all of us. But, what does it say about our society? Do we still believe that the "little woman" should be at home? That she is not as smart or as competent as a man? When I first started teaching, male teachers got paid more than female teachers. Why? When I asked, I was told it was because men were the breadwinners! Well, so was I! My husband was laid up for a year with a severe back injury, and I was making close to nothing as a teacher. Not fair! And, I was prepared and teaching every day while some coaches were showing football film in class!

  • HSTeacher Boise, ID
    Dec. 3, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    Since the story brought out that she is LDS, why did Miss Utah, who is LDS, have one of the most immodest dresses? Hard to think straight when everything is falling out1 :-)

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 24, 2013 8:00 p.m.

    The question is comvoluted and not straight forward. The reasons men and women earn different amount are complex, and to try to claim it is the result of deliberate discrimination is to avoid even trying to address the real issues at play. The real issues at play are how companies treat motherhood, how friendly they are to mothers taking time off, and these issues are not going to be solved by yelling "discrimination", or asking such loaded questions.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 20, 2013 7:39 a.m.


    Really, Deseret News Headline writers?...
    What an insensitive insulting choice for a word.

    Definition of Infamy

    [ ínfəmee ]

    1.notoriety: the disgrace to somebody's reputation caused by an infamous act or behavior
    2.shameful conduct: shameful or criminal conduct or character
    3.evil deed: a publicly known infamous act or event

    I hardly think her stumble deserves such a characterization.
    Especially from the Deseret News.

    In fact, she has now become America's darling.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    June 18, 2013 6:17 p.m.

    How was she supposed to come up with an instant, and coherent, answer to such a broad and poorly phrased question? That's what comes from looking to the cast of Real Housewives of Wherever for judges!

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    June 18, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    Actually, Mona, I *have* heard of stats being listed that have mentioned the average dollar figures of the pay for women in a given job vs. the pay for men in that *same* job. Just because it's illegal for companies to do something doesn't mean they don't find a way to do it without getting into trouble--or just without getting caught.

    Yeah, this is a sadly embarrassing moment for Marissa, and I feel bad for her, and in some places people have made fun of her, and I wish they wouldn't.

    I do, however, notice her last name of Powell, and can't help but just wonder a little bit if she could be related to that Powell who married Susan Cox, and how closely if at all.

    Good luck, Marissa!


  • Global Warner Provo, UT
    June 18, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    To a few commentators, let me say the question was neither a gotcha, misleading or irrelevant. There are tons of data about this in numerous peer-reviewed journals. It's such a problem, many could have responded well, especially those who have been victims of this evil, which I'm guessing Miss Utah has never experienced. The individuals in such pageants are usually quite well off financially and wouldn't recognize a homeless person if they saw one.
    Gender inequality is one of the most important challenges today. In the millions of cases where women with equal skills, education, and seniority are discriminated against by compensation and titles going to men, it's a vicious problem. And it is highly relevant in spite of those who want to deny or ignore it. I can certainly sympathize with Miss Utah. Like most Americans, she seems blissfully unaware that inequality is a major economic issue in our society, especially in Utah, and it has been chipping away at the American dream for decades. Too bad she had no idea of what the question even meant. She could have at least said she was all for motherhood and apple pie.

  • jane 66 ALAMEDA, CA
    June 18, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    So why is pouring concrete and lifting heavy things worth more money than caring for children, nursing the sick, teaching school, or running a library (all of which require more education than pouring concrete)? That's the core of the problem - what men do is considered more valuable than what women do, no matter what it is and no matter the contribution to society.

  • my two cents777 ,
    June 18, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    She is a most beautiful young woman with a talent for singing. That said, I thought the answer was hilarious but pitiful. It was so obvious she was reaching for a "deep thought" but unable to find anything through her stress. I felt sorry for her but, perhaps, she needs to spend more time on educating herself "better" than standing in front of her mirror. I still wish her luck, tho, regardless.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    June 18, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    While the national rate is nothing to be proud of, Utah women make even less compared to men than the national average. In fact, the two worst earning cities for women are in Utah.
    Since she attended Skyline, which is located in a relatively affluent area, and since she is a looker, this might never be an issue for Ms. Utah. But it is a very relevant issue for other Utah women, including women like me, who tried for years to do everything "the right way" so that they could be SAHMs, only to be forced to reenter the workforce and breadwinners due to circumstances beyond their control.
    While it is sad any time somebody experiences flaming due to an innocent gaffe, expecially a chcild, now would be a good time for Ms. Utah to reflect on an issue that is of such great importance to women in her state- more than any other state in the nation.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    June 18, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    I have seen great public speakers suddenly get a brain blip and stumble over words. This is a snapshot that should not reflect on her normal speaking ability.

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    June 18, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    I don't have much respect for Mr. Trump and his values. Why do we have "Beauty Contests" like this anyway. I would be for it if it were on radio so that our minds and hearts would her the contestant's beauty, poise, humility, and talent. Displaying women on stage as something to be judged is to me antiquated. Ms. Utah is welcome to sing anytime.

  • Ted Saint George, UT
    June 18, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    I don't understand why they ask contestants in pageants these kinds of political questions. Why should we care about their political views regarding just about anything? Why not ask what their college plans are. Ask about community involvement. Ask what advice would you give to younger teens regarding pageants. And many other "relevant" questions that we would be interested in hearing about. So her answer was not really her fault. After it was read to her she was probably standing their thinking: "Who comes up with these questions?" and why should they care what I think? Her answer reflected that potential thought process.

    I'm still struggling to understand why these pageants are relevant and what motivates young girls and women to participate in them.

  • BJackson Farmington, UT
    June 18, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    There are a few here judging Marissa's intelligence based on a few seconds of her life. How foolish of you. You don't know her. You should not judge her. The only thing that can be said is that she struggled under immense pressure (IMO, she had more pressure than the other contestants). I believe even the most intelligent person could sound foolish under those circumstances.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    June 18, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    @ Wookie........So, if you were representing Utah, you would have given the pat "world peace" answer? Really??? How many times HAVE you watched "Miss Congeniality"? The question was designed to rattle the cage on traditional family values. Perhaps Miss Utah is a better representative than you give her credit for. Perhaps she saw the dead end question for what it was and choose not to feed the liberal image of those who oppose traditional values. Miss Utah is a lovely young woman.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    June 18, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    @Sense Maker

    I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how demonstrated incompetence by a Utahn improves the image of the state?

    Further, there never have been more Mormons in Las Vegas than in Utah. What a bizarre comment to make.

    Perhaps we all can learn the lesson that it's better to think before speaking. That should be the moral of the story here, rather than how many views one gets on YouTube. I certainly would rather remain incognito than to gain infamy for foolish behavior or commentary.

  • Malihini Northern, UT
    June 18, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    She was educated at Skyline HS in the Utah education system. You can see that when you are on a national stage, competing against national talent, having teachers give you all A's and coddle you through school becomes a handicap.

  • beanbrain Bellevue, WA
    June 18, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    Since the subject is education, the line above that reads "Jamie Crandall, who reined..." should read "Jamie Crandall, who reigned..." (Reins are for horses.)

  • RShackleford Saint George, UT
    June 18, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    They still have these pageants??

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    June 18, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    So, according to the DesNews staffers/bloggers, if you prove that you're not bright...at all, as long as your foolishness is viewed by a lot of people on YouTube, you're a success.

    There's a moral here, but if I shared the moral, DesNews would consider it offensive and not post it.

  • Sense Maker SANDY, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    It is a good thing that Marissa Powell is a brunette so no one could make any blonde jokes. I honestly think this question was directly concocted at the last minute by some liberal judges who want to make the state of Utah look bad because of its conservatism. Unfortunately, people outside of Utah may feel that there is a male dominating voice in this state, and might blame the predominant religion in Utah for this. I agree that this question was impossible to answer, and a lot of thought would have had to be put into it to answer it in any kind of a rational manner. When Dennis Rodman came to Utah years ago to play for the Jazz, he took off to Las Vegas for awhile before the game because he said, "He didn't want to be around these damn Mormons." The joke is that at that time I believe there were more LDS people living in the Las Vegas than in Salt Lake City. I am glad there is so much media hype because Marissa will make Utah's image look really good to have such a talented, successful person representing it.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    What does it say about our society that you have a stupid "war on women" question asked by one of the "Real Housewives" of Atlanta? Think about it. Why didn't they give that question to a girl from a 'blue' state?

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 18, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    Kind of like the NFL cheerleader who became Exec Asst in our firm years ago, and had no idea why she was hired because she couldn't write a coherent sentence, Miss Utah got a long ways on her looks. Let's be honest, she's a stunner and the reason most people here are willing to give her a pass is she is beautiful.

    I would advise her to work on thinking on her feet, practice interviewing, and most of all...have a real POV that she's passionate about. Most of us struggle when we haven't thought through things and/or don't care about the topic. Interviews like this are to see how we think and what we care about. I hope she uses this experience to add some skills she will need down the road.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    Dumb quesion to begin with. She is beautiful and it takes guts to be on that kind of stage with so many people watching. I know she probably doesn't read these comment boards, but if you are reading this Miss Utah, don't sweat it. I have no idea what I would have said. I am a sports fan, and I played at the collegiate level. All I can say is shooting a foul shot in my backyard was much different than doing it in front of 15,000 fans. So,just keep on keepin' on, don't worry about what the critics say, you have plenty of supporters.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    June 18, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    Nene leaks has shown to be a mean gal. But, not sure if she developed this question on her own.

  • BJackson Farmington, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    I was there in the live audience. The reason she "lost her way" is because the audience didn't like what she was saying, and many began to moan/groan. It was quite audible from my seat and I know she heard it. I'm sure that hindered her. It's too bad, because the group I was with were proud to cheer for her.

    I think she should use this as a stepping stone to become a spokes model and prove to the world she is smarter than the woman everyone saw for a few seconds on TV.

  • Gregory Hill Richboro, PA
    June 18, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    The question is one that Ms. Powell would no doubt answer very well in less stressful circumstances with more time to think about it. She is a lovely young lady, and this awkward moment should not define her life, or lessen her very real accomplishments.

  • ReadMineFirst Ft. Collins, CO
    June 18, 2013 7:00 a.m.

    I am standing with Red. She is a brave and beautiful young woman who followed a dream. I commend her for that. If I were her, I'd try to find a way to turn all of this attention into something good.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 18, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    There isn't a wrong answer. She is there to look marvelous.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    June 18, 2013 6:08 a.m.

    Fortunately for those of us who see all beauty pagents as pointless, and contributing to pressuring women to value being pretty over being people of quality, why can't we grow up and stop having beauty pagents.

  • CP Tooele, UT
    June 18, 2013 4:46 a.m.

    @wwookie: You can say what you did..but ask yourself would you have been able to keep your composure and train of thought in the same situation. It's a whole different ball game to sit down and type out what you think you would respond to that stupid question while sitting down versus being in front alot of people and with TV cameras, etc all around you. Who knows maybe after you answer somebody might say what you said about her, "Too bad she's representing us. Wish it were someone else." about you. I think before slamming Miss Utah you should make an attempt to put yourself in her shoes.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    June 18, 2013 3:22 a.m.

    I don't think the question was misleading but it is confusing and has no basis and logical answer at all. Women making less is because they work fewer hours, more time off, personal choices that are woman make. There is no pay abuse and there is no way they can prove there is a disparity in men's and women's incomes because it is confidential information and there are no number being presented to back up this idiotic claim.

    College jobs of today are not high tech nor high value nor productive. When a nation does not produce a product it has no value and no need for college degrees. College degrees are a means to keep young people out of the job market to manipulate the unemployed and jobless economy. Students taking school loans also feed the debt based financial systems with inflated debt growth, not economic growth.

    Illegal aliens cause profound pay losses 50-100% and low wages and jobs has not been included in the studies on wages and incomes levels of registered americans and never included in these phony studies claiming sexual discrimination.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2013 1:32 a.m.

    She's an intelligent young woman. I think that the problem was that she had a prepared answer on the educational system in the US that she had planned to give. After being asked the question on wage disparity, she started to use this planned answer and shortly into it caught that it did not fit the question. This is the point that most people think she got flustered. She just came to realize that the answer that she wanted to give on education was not fitting the question that was asked.

    If she had only been asked the question that teen Ms. South Carolina had been asked about not being able to find the US on a map, she would have nailed it.

    Overall, I think she did a good job.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    June 18, 2013 1:18 a.m.

    @Mona: "Poor Miss Utah was the victim of an insulting and difficult to answer question."

    She was a victim for sure. But the question was not that difficult.

    The answer is: Many women stay home to have babies and raise families. Which means they are on the job less than men... Which means on average, they get paid less since much of wages are based on raises for time on the job.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 17, 2013 11:02 p.m.

    None of them ever bungle the bikini portion of the contest.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    June 17, 2013 10:27 p.m.

    This is USA paegant, not Miss America.
    It's about beauty, not whether the answer was right or wrong.

    Question was so easy as are all pageant questions. Answer should have been prepared - " we need to work together to create a better world for all of us. This means combatting inequality wherever it exists. This is what will bring peace to our world."

    Despite being a lame politically charged question, which has no place in a pageant, this was still a hilarious video clip. Too bad she's representing us. Wish it was someone else.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    June 17, 2013 10:22 p.m.

    What does it say about society?

    There are very few women in the construction trades. How many women are electricians for instance? How many women are plumbers for instance? How many women have a trade in concrete, tile, roofing, siding, heating or carpentry?

    In the forty years I have been in the construction industry, I have yet to see a woman pulling concrete forms off a foundation wall, lifting them out of a foundation hole, (forms average about 85 pounds), and then loading them onto a truck, then unloading them in new excavation hole, setting them up, tying the re-bar, pouring and finishing the concrete into forms and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again, every day. It's a dirty smelly, sweaty job.
    Women do NOT want to do this job...women do not have the masculine inclination necessary for the above job... It is just a fact of nature and not some sort of societal anomoly.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    June 17, 2013 10:07 p.m.

    So I'm supposed to take a question from one of the "Housewives" show seriously? I'd put the idiotic question, and entire debacle, back on the questioner.

  • Digbads South Jordan, UT
    June 17, 2013 10:01 p.m.

    She is a beautiful young woman, and is in a contest that recognizes women for their beauty. If you want to see intelligent answers to questions from bright and interesting young women, I'd recommend inviting a few sister missionaries over for a chat.

  • UTAH Bill Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2013 9:52 p.m.

    It's not the answers that matter, it's how the contestant handles a public speaking task onstage under pressure. She did not do well - that's a fact. It does not mean she's a bad person. But, it does mean she did not have what it takes compared to the other ladies.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2013 9:37 p.m.

    She did great and I'm standing by her.

    Most of the critics have never been close to being in a situation like that and bumble around when they have to give a talk in church.

    We need more people building each other up instead of being so critical.

  • Mona Beaverton, OR
    June 17, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    The question is inane and misleading. The same question was posed to Romney in one of the presidential debates. In both cases it was purposely asked without context apparently to inflame passions about equal pay for [un-] equal work. It is against the law for employers to pay differently in the same job, based on gender. It is not illegal or unfair for people who have spent fewer years in the workforce to be working at lower level jobs and thus make lower pay. The questioner would have you believe that an employer is paying a woman less for the identical job, and a man, more. Poor Miss Utah was the victim of an insulting and difficult to answer question.