Skip to Content

Jessica Simpson must love Lauren Caitlin Upton.

Indeed, Miss South Carolina Teen USA made the pop singer look like Einstein Saturday night when she responded to a question from Aimee Teegarden during the Miss Teen USA pageant.

But the gaffe has landed Upton in the national spotlight.  And she told Anne Curry on Today that she simply panicked under pressure:


“Everything did come at me at once. I was overwhelmed, and I made a mistake. I’m human,” Lauren said.

People magazine reported that Upton also added she “drew a blank,” and “misunderstood.” That’s for sure.

Meanwhile, pageant host Mario Lopez said that as the meltdown was happening he wanted to help Upton, but was told that he couldn’t talk to the contestants while they were answering questions.

“It was a very intense moment,” Lopez said. “It’s live TV. You don’t know what the question is until you get up there. And I believe that she misunderstood it. She went down the wrong road and couldn’t figure out how to get back to the right one. I felt really badly for her.”

The kind folks at Today also gave Upton, another chance to answer the question. Her reply?

“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 in our education so people know how to read maps better.”

Well done, Lauren. And remember: Compared to other beauty pageant contestants in recent memory – such as Katie Rees and Tara Conner – you’re very much a role model.