15 Most Awkward Beauty Pageant Answers That Made Us Cringe

When pageant competitions began in the early 1920’s, women competed in what was called the “bathing beauty review,” where women across the country would be judged on their beach bods. Almost 100 years later, winning pageants has become more than just having a killer figure and wearing a tiny bikini. Today, pageants like Miss America and Miss Universe judge women on their talent performances and their opinions on current events, in addition to their physical appearance.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to compete in a beauty pageant. These competitions are not all glitz and glamour. Pageant contestants must get up to speed on current events, and most importantly, judges look for women who are genuine and aren’t just faking it during the interview portion of the competition. Being interviewed in front of thousands of people is definitely nerve-wracking, so we give props to the ladies who are asked miscellaneous questions on live television.

So, while some ladies might have a small mishap while answering a question, whether it’s asking for more clarification or stuttering in their speech, some women just totally fail at answering the judge’s questions and end up making a total fool of themselves. These ladies’ answers are so bad that watching them can make anyone cringe. Check out these 15 ladies who have competed in beauty pageants and made the show so much more entertaining with their awkward answers.


15 Miss Minnesota 1995 - Had No Idea What Affirmative Action Is

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Angelique de Maison competed as Miss Minnesota in 1995 and was asked, "Do you think that your career prospects would be affected if Affirmative Action were dismantled?" She had to have the question repeated for her while she got her thoughts together, but that didn't help her one bit. Miss Minnesota clearly had no idea what Affirmative Action was, and while she came off rather strong and seemed like she was going to give a great response, her answer made no sense at all. But we'll give her a thumbs up for not breaking down and continuing to look at the judge directly in the eyes while stumbling on her answer.

14 Miss California 2009 - Blows Pageant With Anti-Gay Answer

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Miss California 2009, Carrie Prejean, totally blew her chances at winning Miss USA when she was asked by openly gay entertainer Perez Hilton, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-s*x marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not?" The beautiful contestant not only stated that she didn't believe in it, but she called a marriage between a man and a woman "opposite marriage." Huh? Her anti-gay marriage answer totally blew her chances at winning the competition. Also, how much of your opinion should you be allowed to share on these types of competitions? Even though she was completely honest and respectful, it sadly didn’t win her the crown. Perez Hilton did not look so pleased after that response.

13 Miss Venezuela 2012 - What On Earth Did She Say?

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To be fair, Miss Venezuela 2012, Irene Esser, did have the major issue of speaking English, but like all competitors, you have to be ready for anything that comes your way. She was asked, "If you could make a new law, what would it be and explain why?" Miss Venezuela struggled to answer the simple question and her answer came out in a bunch of jumbles. Her answer started with, "I think that any laws that are in constitution or in life are already made I think that we should have aaahh a straight way to go in our similar or ehhh ... in ... in our life hassaythis? ..." Poor girl, at least she looked good in her dress while answering the question.

12 Miss Philippines 2010 - More Like Miss Perfect?

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Apparently, there are people in the world who have never made mistakes in their life. One of those people is former Miss Universe contestant Miss Philippines 2010, Venus Raj. The beauty pageant contestant's question was, "What is one big mistake that you've made in your life and what did you do to make it right?" She confidently answered, "You know what sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say, that there is nothing major, major, I mean problem that I did in my life because I am very confident with my family with the love they’re giving to me..." Number one, her answer made no sense at all, and number two, you want to want to identify with other women, young and old, so even if you’ve never made a “major mistake,” let’s try and search for a minor one.

11 Miss District Of Columbia 2017 - Faced Backlash For Healthcare Question

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Miss District of Columbia 2017, Kara McCullough, a nuclear scientist, sparked outrage and backlash when she was asked if affordable healthcare should be a privilege or right. The contestant went on to say that she believed it was a privilege because of her own experiences which caused somewhat of a liberal-versus-conservative debate because it was such a sensitive issue. She also sparked concern on her take on feminism during the Miss USA pageant saying she rather call it "equalism." Kara did go on to win the title of Miss USA and even defended her comments on the pageant during an interview on Good Morning America, where she let people know that universal healthcare should be a right for the American people and that she is just privileged to be able to have it. That was a pretty good save there, Kara.

10 Miss Republica Dominicana 2008 - Needs A History Lesson


Miss Republica Dominicana 2008 contestant, Monseñor Nouel Katherine Miguelina Escaño Cabrera, was asked which historical person she most identifies with and why. You could literally say anyone for this simple question. She answered the question by stating, "The person I identify with is Juan Pablo Duarte because thanks to him we discovered Latin America and if it weren't for him, we still may not have discovered our country, our continent." If she knew her history, she would know that Juan Pablo Duarte had nothing to do with discovering Latin America or whatever continent she was referring too. However, Duarte is one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. Also, this contestant did not even answer the question given to her and how she identifies with him. Maybe a quick history lesson might help her realize her mistake.

9 Miss Italy 2015 - Wants To Experience World War Two

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When Miss Italy 2015 contestant 18-year-old Alice Sabatini was asked which historical period she would most like to live in, she paused before saying "1942." Miss Italy actually said she would want to experience World War Two. The contestant's country was also facing its darkest years in history under the Mussolini dictatorship. A judge was taken aback by her answer, but Miss Italy clarified her answer by stating, "Well ... to see really what the Second War was like, since the books talk about it for page after page. I want to live it." She also mentioned that since she's a woman, she didn't have to do "military service." Surprisingly, she won the pageant, which sadly confirms that sometimes beauty beats brains.


8 Miss California 2012 - A Bit Off On What Euthanasia Is


Miss California 2012 contestant Leah Cecil was featured on a 20/20 special, which followed Miss America contestants and fumbled on a pre-pageant question that was featured on the show. When she was asked "What's your feelings on euthanasia?" Cecil replied by embarrassingly saying, "It's a vaccine, right?" The full question asked the contestant her feelings on the idea of euthanasia being legalized, where she fully answered, "That's actually one thing I'm not educated on, so I need to look up on exactly what that means, but ..." After her pre-pageant interview, she told a reporter she felt "dumb" and "idiotic" for not knowing what euthanasia was. Hopefully, she looked up the term and educated herself on the topic of euthanasia before appearing on another beauty pageant.

7 Miss Philippines 2001 - Decides Between Beauty Or Brains

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This one is a bit hard to watch. Miss Philippines 2001 contestant Jeannie Anderson was pretty much forced to pick whether she would want to be smart or beautiful for the rest of her life. Even the judge who asked her the question (a former Miss Universe herself) admitted that the question wasn't exactly "practical." After telling the audience to be quiet, Jeannie stated that she would rather be beautiful than have any brains. She also went on to say, "You can learn a lot of things to be smart." Clearly, Jeannie's response showed us that she might just have her looks going for her in real life because her answer made no sense. Let's hope she "learned a lot of things" after this pageant so that she can have both the beauty and the brains.

6 Miss Panama 2009 - Confucius Invented Confusion?

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Miss Panama 2009 beauty pageant contestant Giosue Cozzarelli was asked who Confucious was, and instead of honestly saying she had no idea, she gave it a shot and it was just awful. After translation, the contestant said, "Confucius was one of the ones who invented confusion, and for that reason … he’s one of the ancient Chinese, one of the Japanese of the ancient times." Wait, what? Did she just say Confucius invented confusion? We understand there is a timer, which can make answering a question nerve-racking, but come on, that was a silly thing to say.

5 Miss Alabama 2007 - Totally Stumped

Miss Alabama actually did pretty well on her first interview question when she was asked about her thoughts on child abuse and how a child can lead a productive life after going through such an ordeal. However, on her second question, a current one at the time, the beauty pageant contestant didn't do so hot. When asked, "Who should be accountable for the prison abuse scandal in Iraq?" Miss Alabama's face just said it all. The poor girl had no idea what the question meant and definitely was not up to date on her current events. It was hard to watch and we even felt sorry for her. We could just imagine what was going through her head after doing her long walk back to her place on the stage and forcing a smile on her face.

4 Miss Philippines 2008 - Can't Say One Nice Thing About Her Family

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Another Miss Philippines candidate made watching beauty pageants that much harder to watch after her answer to the judge's question which asked what role had her family played during her preparing for the competition. Even before answering, Janina San Miguel admitted to not feeling any pressure, but it seemed like the pressure got the best of her. She literally couldn't say one nice thing about her family or if they've helped her at all throughout her journey of the competition. She blamed being only 17 years old and gave us a bunch of fake laughs and apologies for not being the confident girl she assumed she was. Maybe she was just too concentrated on the tough questions the judges were going to ask her she forgot that there were also very, very easy ones.

3 Miss Utah 2013 - Totally Fumbles On Income Equality Question

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Miss Utah 2013 Marissa Powell was clearly stumped on the question of income equality and just blamed everything on education (sort of). Celebrity judge NeNe Leakes asked her, "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does it say about society?" The question seems fair enough, but Miss Utah struggled to answer it. She said, "I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive ... to ... figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem right now. I think, especially the men are ... um ... seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to ... create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you." Yikes.

2 Miss Hawaii 1992 - Confused About Her Own State


Miss Hawaii 1992 Nadine Tanega seemed to be a tad bit confused about her own state while giving her final answer at the Miss World America. While basically promoting the United States in her answer, Nadine did not forget to mention the beauty that is Hawaii. She stated, "We are truly the land of the great. From the rocky shores of…Hawaii…to the beautiful sandy beaches of…Hawaii…America is our home." Even host Alan Thicke noticed Nadine's strange answer and after she was done, he hysterically said, "a wonderfully versatile state you have there." Ouch!

1 Miss South Carolina 2007 - The Most Cringe-Worthy Answer Yet

Miss South Carolina Caitlin Upton became a YouTube sensation and catapulted into fame after her answer to the question, "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?" Instead of breaking down her answer, we'll let you read it yourself because it is hilarious. Her answer, "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, 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., uh, or, uh, 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." This by far is the most cringe-worthy answer in all of beauty pageant history.


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