COLUMBIA, S.C. — This time, the question was a little easier for Miss Teen South Carolina.
After being stumped by a Miss Teen USA pageant question on live television Friday night, Lauren Caitlin Upton’s confused, mangled response has been drawing a lot of attention.
The 18-year-old got a chance to redeem herself Tuesday on NBC’s “TODAY” show when she was again asked why one-fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a map.
“I would love to re-answer that question,” Upton said. “Well 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.”
That was much better than her previous response, which included “U.S. Americans” and mentions of South Africa and “the Iraq.”
A YouTube video of Upton has drawn a couple million hits and thousands of comments, many of them with harsh remarks for the Lexington High School graduate who plans to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
Upton was taking her flubbed answer — and the attention — in stride.
“Everything did come at me at once. I was overwhelmed and I made a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake. I’m human,” she said Tuesday. “I seriously think I only heard about one or two words of the actual question.”
Upton’s former principal Creig Tyler remembered her as a well-rounded student.
“She took college-prep and honors courses and performed well,” Tyler told The (Columbia) State newspaper.
Miss Teen Colorado Hilary Carol Cruz won the crown. Upton was third runner-up.
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