Happy Tenth Anniversary, Miss Teen South Carolina 2007! We personally believe that it’s been ten years since Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 gave the long-winded, rambling and incredibly confusing answer that took America by head-shaking storm. She may not have won the competition but without a doubt, she won herself a place in U.S. America’s Hall of Shame history. Back in 2007, every talk show host in the biz and comedians across the country scrambled to find the funniest take on this golden opportunity of joke fodder.
Lauren Caitlin “Caite” Upton was just eighteen in 2007 when she took to the Miss Teen USA stage in a lovely powder blue gown. Her make-up had been perfectly applied, her hair expertly styled and when competition host Mario Lopez called her up to center stage to answer the “thought-provoking final question” as Lopez put it, asked by Friday Night Lights actress and judge for the evening, Aimee Teegarden, Upton perfectly choked.
Perhaps her nervousness was brought on by Lopez’s choice of phrasing right before the question. She was, after all, the first girl up. “Sound simple?” Mario said with a scoff. “Easier said than done. Especially when the whole country is watching.” Way to lay the pressure on, Mario. Well, the whole country might not have been watching the night the pageant aired but they’ve definitely seen Upton’s answer at some point. We personally hope that you, the readers, like, such as, including all U.S. Americans, enjoy this article, everywhere, like, such as, right here.
15. The Answer That Had Us All Scratching Our Heads…And Then Laughing Them Off
Mario Lopez’s awkward stretched-on smile pretty much conveyed what we were all feeling when Upton finished the longest run-on sentence in the world. She went over her thirty-second allotted time and ignored the delightful timer sound in her nervousness so Lopez had to move in and nod twice before saying, “Thank you very much, South Carolina” to urge the poor rambling contestant to stop speaking. In case you forgot (how could you), this was her response to why 1/5 of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map:
“I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US or should help South Africa and the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children”
Not that we wish to exacerbate Upton’s misery but we would have liked to have seen the camera pan a bit toward the audience to catch their reaction. What would it have been like to be there in person and witness this train wreck first hand? Did the audience clap for her efforts or because the word salad had finally run its course and the whole thing was over? So many questions…
14. Her Second Attempt Wasn’t Any Better
In case you forgot, Miss Teen USA 2007 judge Aimee Teegarden’s exact question was, “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?” Since her viral sensation happened on stage, Upton has done several interviews and been granted multiple chances to re-do her answer.When she sat down on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and Ann Curry in 2007, she gave this much more clear and thoughtful response. “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 that there should be more emphasis on geography in our education so people will learn how to read maps better.” Though this version sounds light years better, we’re still not sure how impressed the judges would have been to hear this. The “I don’t know anyone else who doesn’t” part sounds a bit snobby and she actually challenges the statistics in the judge’s handpicked question. But, who knows? Maybe they would have preferred a feisty winner that year had things gone this way.
13. A New, Darker Look
Looking very Mandy Moore-ish, we can hardly believe that this girl is the same one who looked fresh off the set of a Legally Blonde sequel and took to the Miss Teen USA stage ten years ago and called Americans “U.S. Americans.” But that’s Lauren Caitlin “Caite” Upton all right. In this photo, Upton was smiling big at the Big Brother wrap party in 2016. Since her embarrassing broadcasted blunder, Upton has been blessed with oodles of opportunities to capitalize on her fifteen minutes of fame and by all accounts, she’s been grabbing onto them with both hands. In this way, Upton reminds us of another former Miss Teen USA contender who hailed from South Carolina and clung to fame as well. Vanessa Minnillo (who actually won the title in 1998) enjoyed a pretty sweet post-win career as MTV’s Total Request Live host from 2003 to 2007, the very same year Caite tried her luck at the title. Minnillo was also a New York-based correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and is now married with children to former Mr. Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey. Looks like it pays to win.
12. Bullied By The USC Baseball Team
Caite Upton’s family and close friends might have been supportive and kind to her after “the incident” but not everyone was so sweet and peachy keen to the beauty queen and the University of South Carolina’s very own baseball team falls into the latter category, according to Upton. In an interview soon after Miss Teen USA 2007 was seen ’round U.S. America, Upton gave her account of a mass bully attack. “I walk in, and the entire USC baseball team surrounded me and bashed me with the harshest, meanest comments I had ever heard,” she said of a party she attended soon after the Miss Teen USA contest ended in 2007. Maybe they were upset that she represented South Carolina in not such a… homerun kind of way?
11. Surprisingly Still Involved With Pageantry
People have called her many things but you can’t call Caite Upton a sore loser. Despite her fumbling mishap at the Miss Teen USA competition in 2007, many people forget that she was named as the third runner-up. Not too shabby considering what happened and after all was said and done, Upton graciously held her head high and continued to have involvement with pageantry. She is shown here at the Miss Alabama USA competition formerly known as the Miss Alabama Universe competition. You may not recognize the former Miss Teen South Carolina as she looks very different from ten years ago but that’s her in the black cut-out dress with dark tresses, second from the right-hand side.
10. Learning Stuff With Caite Upton
In the promo for Upton’s short-lived show, Learning Stuff with Caite Upton hosted by YouTube’s Soiled Britches, she says, “it takes a smart cookie to take a dumb mistake and turn it into a big opportunity” and “yeah, whatever, I might have taken a nationally televised stumble but I’m in good company.” Cut to clips of George W. Bush and other politicians flubbing their words.
The show’s self-description is, “The former Miss South Carolina Teen USA (2007) became an Internet sensation for famously rambling when asked a question during the pageant. She sets out to learn everything there is to possibly know in the whole wide world.” Basically, she learns how things like gravity work (sort of) while dressing like Britney Spears à la “Baby, One More Time” music video and acts pretty ditzy and provocative if we don’t mind saying so. And we don’t. The whole series only lasted for five episodes so either that’s all it took for Upton to learn everything there is to possibly know in the whole wide world or… no one felt like learning stuff with Caite Upton.
9. Making Enemies, Miley-Style
Sometime around 2010, it appears that Caite Upton decided to try to make a news splash similar to the Miley Cyrus outrage of 2009 in which the singer posed with a group of friends holding her fingers to each side of her face near her eyes, making them appear slanted. After a public apology, Cyrus finally recovered from the unfortunate and thoughtless decision but it seems that one year later, Upton thought that maybe copying the pop star’s inconsiderate move would be a good way to give her career a boost… the whole “any attention is good attention” mindset. In the end, her wish was granted but alas – her irritating behavior was not anywhere near the Miley Cyrus level of news-worthiness and so it did not receive the scandalous attention that she probably felt it deserved.
8. On The Today Show
Mere days after the lights had dimmed on the Miss Teen USA stage, Caite Upton appeared on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and Ann Curry to provide some clarity as to what exactly happened with her brain to mouth reflexes when asked “the question.” Upton appeared to be in good spirits and laughed off the incident saying, “I am sitting here laughing at myself. Is that really me? It’s like I’m not in my actual body. I made a mistake — everybody makes a mistake — I’m human. Right when the question was asked of me, I was in shock.” To be fair to Upton, her nerves had to be rattled after Mario Lopez commented about how “the whole country” was watching, she was the first up and she was still a teenager at the time, after all.
7. Life Goes On… And She Finds True Love
In stark contrast to Upton’s big loss on the Miss Teen USA stage in 2007, she has become a big winner in love. She married fellow F45 personal trainer Charlie McNeil last year. The two met at OB’s Pub and Grill in Manhattan Beach, California but Upton went home to wed at Seabrook Island Club in Johns Island, South Carolina. She posts lots of photos of the smiling couple with captions like, “MY AMAZING HUSBAND” and “This man of mine is freaking the best thing in this world!!!! I LOVE YOU” on Instagram so things seem to be going pretty well for the Miss Teen USA 2007 third runner-up as far as her heart is concerned which is nice to hear especially since in 2015, she gave an interview and talked about how she felt “haunted by her brush with fame” which was only made worse by being mistaken for the much more famous and similarly-named Kate Upton.
6. Her Amazing Place In The Amazing Race
The sixteenth season of The Amazing Race in 2010 brought us the team “Dating Models” which referred to Caite Upton’s dating relationship with former boyfriend and fellow model, Brent Horne. Upton, then just twenty and Horne, twenty-eight, fought their way to third place through such obstacles as suspected food poisoning and trips to the emergency room as well as their conflicting personalities while racing through Chile, Argentina, Germany, France, Seychelles, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Upton’s profile for the CBS show listed her achievements as, “Being able to overcome the embarrassment from the flub I made on national television during the Miss Teen USA pageant.” Indeed, Upton’s viral sensation was a big part of the 2010 show’s advertising. The famous clip was played of Upton struggling on stage with the words, “She couldn’t find the right answer – Can she find her way around the world?” in a commercial for The Amazing Race. Upton is then heard saying, “People think I’m ignorant. I’m gonna change your mind.”
5. Post-Answer Urges
Upton gave a very somber interview to the New Yorker in 2015 in which she discussed the painful results of having around sixty-three million people watch her wordy mistake and ridicule her for it. She started by describing her life as “unbearable” at the time and stated, “I lost a lot of close friends over it — people I’d been friends with since I was ten, people I grew up playing soccer with. Somebody once put a letter in my parents’ mailbox about how my body was going to be eaten alive by ants and burned in a freak fire.” She said that the effects of the taunts and cruel remarks left her feeling helpless back then. “I definitely went through a period where I was very, very depressed,” she said. “But I never let anybody see that stuff, except for people I could trust. I had some very dark moments where I thought about committing suicide.” Thankfully, life seems to be treating the former beauty queen well these days.
4. Being Tosh.0’s Very Favorite Person
… Very favorite person who messed up badly enough to land themselves on his show’s segment, Web Redemption, that is. If you’re not familiar with Tosh.0, the host, Daniel Tosh selects only the most cringy viral video clips, contacts the one who committed the cringe in the video and flies them down to L.A. for the chance to “redeem themselves” and right their previous wrongs. Daniel was very excited to meet Caite Upton considering that he was once asked in an interview what his favorite viral video was and his answer? “Miss Teen USA — South Carolina answers a question.”
When the big day arrived and he finally got to meet Upton, she told him that she was just having an “outer body” experience (the verdict is still out on if the Tosh.0 crew planted the joke or not), it was an honest mistake and it happens to everybody. “It was the best thing that could ever happen to me. I have been able to pursue my modelling career. I’ve lived in New York, I’ve traveled the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better life.”
3. Proud To Have Been A Real Estate Professional
In 2014, Caite Upton posted an update to Facebook stating that she had earned her real estate license and was now dedicated to her new profession of selling homes in Brentwood, California. She stated that she “truly enjoys helping her clients find the right homes, sell their properties, or find the right type of investment properties.” It would seem that she didn’t truly enjoy it that much as from everything that we can see, she has given up her real estate career to dedicate time to another passion of hers; being a fitness trainer. But hopefully, Upton did help some clients find the right homes for them. We can’t help but wonder if and when they found out who she was, if she was asked to repeat her infamous rambling to the delight of the happy new homeowners or if once they figured it out, they ran for the hills, worrying that selling their home with someone who refers to Iraq as “the Iraq” would not be the wisest decision for such a big milestone in their lives.
2. Oh, Brother!
Seeing as how The Amazing Race and Big Brother are both CBS shows, it was only natural that Caite Upton was invited to a wrap party for her reality show’s brother, er, sister show. Upton often refers to her “reality show family” on her social media posts and speaks affectionately about them. Since her national fumble at the Miss Teen USA 2007 competition, she has modelled for companies like, such as Wrangler, Nautica and has appeared in Cosmo Girl and American Cheerleader magazines. She was even once signed to current U.S. American President Donald Trump‘s modelling agency in New York City, everywhere, like, such as. All of these nuggets of fame helped propel her to her spot on The Amazing Race.
1. Now She’s A Fitness Trainer
If you’ve never heard of F45, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s been called “the fastest growing franchise you’ve never heard of.” Though to be fair, chances are high that it was someone closely associated with the company who called it that. Described as an “Australian fitness craze, which helped mould the bodies of Hugh Jackman and Ricky Martin, is the brainchild of eastern suburbs trainer-to-the-stars Luke Istomin. F45, short for Functional 45, is a program based on high-intensity 45-minute group classes.” Upton’s Instagram profile lists her a “Fitness Trainer” and “Owner F45 Training Culver City” and judging by the volume of workout pics on her page, Upton is heavily into running a franchise of the fitness craze that started in Australia. So if you’re reading this correctly, it means that you (yes, you!) could be personally trained by the former beauty queen and cringy viral sensation.
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