Ex Miss-Teen South Carolina Caite Upton Reunites With Mario Lopez And Reacts To Her Famous Pageant Flub

Fourteen years after Miss Teen South Carolina Caite Upton became an overnight sensation for struggling to answer an on-stage interview question during the Miss Teen USA pageant. Now a clip of her answer has started to go viral on TikTok again, so she’s reuniting with Mario Lopez (who was the host of the pageant) for the first time since the pageant and explaining what exactly happened in that moment!

On Access Daily, airing January 25, Caite told Mario Lopez that it was almost an out-of-body experience to re-watch her famous answer to why Americans cannot locate the United States on a map.

“It’s almost surreal. It’s like that wasn’t even me. It’s like an out of body experience,” Caite told Mario.

Mario admitted, that in the moment all those years ago, he wanted to help her after realizing that she must have misunderstood the question. But, unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to offer contestants any support without risking them being disqualified.

Miss Teen USA runner up Lauren Caitlin Upton arrives for the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino, 09 September 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

“I got to the Top 5 and I was surprised, out of all those beautiful women,” Caite shared about why she seemed to fumble over her answer. “You and I were conversating beforehand and you asked me a question, so I actually assumed that the question you asked me, which was ‘what’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken or something like that’ … which I nailed by the way… and then you were like reach in here and pull out a name, and I’m like… OK…and so I go and do that…”

“And I’m just aloof and kind of confused as to what was going on, because none of that was practiced in rehearsal. I wasn’t told of it…no one ever talked about it, and so I was just completely caught off-guard.”

Caite also shared that getting a question from judge Aimee Teegarden, who was extremely famous from her stint on “Friday Night Live,” and standing next to Mario on-stage, caused her to be a bit starstruck and freeze up.

All of those moments led up to the answer being flubbed.

But despite her viral success, Caite said she had no idea about how big of an impact her pageant answer really had, until days later when she returned to her home state after some time traveling around California.

“I had over 1000 messages on my Facebook at the time,” Caite revealed, adding that the “Today” show wanted an interview.

Caite took the notoriety in stride, and Mario shared how he wished he could have reached out back then but couldn’t.

“I am so glad that I am finally be able to say my peace… just know that I was there, and I wanted to help you,” Mario told her of the defining moment.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 28: Actress / Model Caite Upton attends the 2nd annual “Babes In Toyland Support Our Troops” charity event at Avalon on June 28, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Caite ultimately turned the viral moment into a positive. Following the pageant, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a correspondent for Jimmy Kimmel and Daniel Tosh to name a few.

And now has an even more exciting job – soon to be mom of two kids!


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