NEW YORK — Miss Utah USA got a second chance Tuesday morning to answer a question she stumbled over Sunday night during the Miss USA pageant.
Marissa Powell, Miss Utah USA, made headlines nationwide after her rambling, incoherent response to a question asked by reality TV star NeNe Leakes. When asked what the wage gap between men and women says about society, Powell said it could be related to education and figuring out how to create jobs.
"That is the biggest problem and I think especially the men are, uh, seen as the leaders of this, so we need to try to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem," she said.
Social media pounced on the answer, and video clips of the response went viral almost instantly. Tuesday morning on the Today show, though, Powell said that was not what she had meant to say.
"I was so excited and I was so nervous, and I got up to this top-five question ... and I got up and the question was a little bit confusing to me, and I just started speaking without really processing it," she told Today host Matt Lauer. "I just started going."
Lauer offered to give Powell a second chance at answering the question, and repeated it for the 21-year-old.
"So, this 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 because you're a woman."
Women working full-time in the U.S. are on average paid 77 percent of men doing equal work, according to the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that advocates for equity in pay for women. In Utah, that percentage is 69 percent.