Miss Universe contestants faced an array of questions when they graced the stage in the States this weekend, and Miss USA’s answer to one controversial question has earned her the internet’s scorn. Jessica Dorey argues that this is one instance when the textbook Miss Congeniality answer is the best answer.

The Miss Universe pageant once again took place in the States this weekend and as per usual it was filled with all things weird and wonderful.

Of course there has to be controversy of some kind in every pageant and this time there were a few, from a hockey-stick-winged dress to an ambassador for child prostitution (wording that very much got lost in translation). But what everyone seems to be talking about is the question and answer section.

This year the questions were an eclectic mix of anything ranging from “would you get rid of the swimsuit section of Miss Universe?” to “what is the biggest change you would like to see in the next generation?”

All the answers were very vague and confusing, to an extent, with language barriers muddling the entire process.

But possibly the most topical question of them all is the one that runner-up, Miss USA (Nia Sanchez), was asked — and her answer has everybody talking.

Judge Manny Pacquiao asked what I think was the hardest question of all, a question usually reserved for those in power. He asked the pageant contestant: “If you were given 30 seconds to deliver a message to a global terrorist, what would you say?”

Her response was straight out of the Miss Congeniality playbook: “I would just say that, I know as Miss Universe USA, I can always spread a message of hope and love and peace, and so I would do my very best to spread that message to them and everyone else in the world.”

Check out the video below to see the section in full.

Now, as you might have seen over the internet her response has been both scoffed at and praised.

Twitter went wild as criticism from viewers streamed in.

Meanwhile one of the few people coming to the (somewhat sarcastic) defence of the contestant, Alex Abad-Santos on Vox, made a good point: ”Is it really fair that we are asking a woman who is devoting a portion of her life to be judged in a bikini something that’s usually reserved for presidents and prime ministers to answer?”

I would like to add to this simmering debate with some praise for the beautiful contestant.


As I sat driving into work listening to the news of the weekend on the radio, I decided to put myself in Miss Sanchez’s shoes. What would I say? I imagined myself all dressed up on stage with lights gleaming down on me and seconds to answer the controversially ridden question. What would I say to a terrorist if I had the chance?

And? … Well, I was stumped. I had nothing. I would have lost Miss Universe.

Maybe it was the fact I hadn’t had my morning coffee, but my mind was blank. I mean, what would you actually say? There are a million things you could say but so many possible variables to the situation — the circumstance and the setting all run through your mind as you think of an answer.

So coming up with a logical answer on the spot in front of all those people?  Well, I couldn’t do it.

Congratulations, I say, to Miss USA for what I believe to be the hardest question of the glassy bowl this year.

And to the commentators with the negative opinion of her answer, I ask you, what could she have said? A topic like this is bound to be controversial one way or the other. So to use the stock standard answer of the pageant contestants? That, Miss Sanchez, was a very smart idea.

And if you’re still undecided on your opinion, ask yourself — what would you say if you had thirty seconds to speak to a terrorist?