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The South Carolina beauty queen who suffered a geographic meltdown over “U.S. Americans” during last month’s Miss Teen USA pageant can now have the last laugh, with the chance to make up to $25,000 a day as a model for Donald Trump.

Lauren Caitlin Upton, 18, of Lexington, S.C., reportedly flew to New York City today to begin employment for Trump Model Management.


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Lauren Caitlin Upton of Lexington, S.C., shown in this undated modeling photo. The 18-year-old has become a national sensation after her grammatically challenged response to a question at the Miss Teen USA pageant in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 24, 2007 (photo courtesy Locke Management)

“My lifelong dream has been to travel the world and pursue my modeling career,” Upton told WIS-TV. “Randomly, [my mistake] has offered me that opportunity.”

The station says she’ll live in the Trump Apartments in Manhattan, with potential assignments in faraway places “such as” Milan, Japan and Australia. There was no mention of “the Iraq” or South Africa, two countries Upton dwelt upon in a rambling answer at the pageant.

As WND was the first to report, Upton was attempting to answer a final question during the Miss Teen USA pageant in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 24.

When asked about the reason why some Americans could not locate the U.S. on a world map, Upton said:

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some 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., er, 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.

After the incident was seen by millions on YouTube and network news, Caitlin recounted the crucial moment at the pageant: “All of a sudden, I was asked this random question I was not expecting. I was in such shock.”

Her dad, Bill Upton, said “When the lady read the question, we were thinking, what was that?”

Since the story broke, the family has been the victim of a media onslaught.

Carol Upton, Caitlin’s mother, said, “First it seemed like a tsunami was hitting our little family and changed us forever. It was overwhelming.”

MTV fans may have noticed Caitlin making a brief appearance at the network’s Video Music Awards, where she was making fun of her flub, yet still seemed to have some difficulty reading the teleprompter, and pronouncing Las Vegas residents as “Las Veegans.”

The incident has also sparked the creativity of some short filmmakers who have produced and posted spoofs online.

One features a young blonde wearing a South Carolina sash strolling down the street when she witnesses a car accident. When a man involved asks her to call 9-1-1, she asks in a panic, “What’s the number?!”


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Video spoofs of the Miss Teen USA gaffe are appearing on the Internet

The phenomenon has also been relentlessly mocked on national television.

ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel actually broke out a chalkboard to try to explain to his audience what Upton was trying to say.


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ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel analyzes Lauren Caitlin Upton’s infamous answer

“Some people out there in our nation don’t have maps,” he quoted her as saying. “That’s actually true. I had a neighbor that didn’t have a map. And I loaned him a map and he never returned it and now I actually don’t have a map.”

Just before the Miss Teen USA contest, Upton said she had originally entered the realm of beauty pageants to improve her personal communication skills.

“When I first started pageants, I wanted to build up my communication skills for interviews for college and for jobs,” she said. “I was determined to prove I was able to accomplish anything I put my mind to.”



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