Amazing Race: Former Miss South Carolina Teen USA Caite Upton Trying to Prove that Pageant Girls Shouldn’t Be Underestimated
February 16, 2010 10:00 AM by Nancy Floyd
The Amazing Race kicked off it’s 16th season on Sunday night onÂ CBS. Among the contestants this year were a few familiar faces including former Miss South Carolina Teen USAÂ Caite Upton. You may remember her as the pageant contestant whose botched answer about geography and the IraqÂ turned her into a viral sensation overnight. Despite her embarrassing notoriety, the former beauty queen is competing with her boyfriend and fellow model,Â Brent Horne, onÂ The Amazing Race and is determined to prove that she’s a serious contender for the grand prize…
It’s going to take a long time forÂ Caite Upton, former Miss South Carolina Teen USA, to live down the embarrassment of her ditzy and nonsensical answer during the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007. The YouTube clip of her infamous Q-and-A has been viewed by over 40 million viewers, not to mention the skewering she took from late-night talk show hosts, pundits, and comedians. On the 16th season of The Amazing Race, Caite says she’s determined to prove “thereâ€™s more to me than a silly question.”
Now 20 years old,Â Caite is competing onÂ The Amazing Race with 28-year oldÂ Brent Horne, her boyfriend of a year and a fellow model. When asked if she thought other teams underestimated her, Caite told PEOPLE, “IÂ felt like the people definitely underestimated me the first round. They figured I would be your typical pageant girl that wasnâ€™t that bright and might not know too many things. But I think I proved very quickly that I couldnâ€™t be discounted.”
According toÂ Caite, being a former pageant contestant actually helped her on the show. “Pageant girls from past seasons like Christie [Lee Woods] and Ericka [Dunlap]Â all proved they shouldnâ€™t be underestimated. I looked up to them and the fact that they did well motivated me. Thereâ€™s more to pageant girls than looks. Maybe the pageant system is good preparation for the show. Youâ€™re used to stress, competition and cameras,” Caite says.
In addition to her pageant experience,Â Caite thinks her personality makes her a fierce competitor and a big threat to other contestants onÂ The Amazing Race. “Iâ€™m a very well-rounded person so I donâ€™t think I had just one helpful trait. I might not look like it on the outside but Iâ€™m a big tomboy. Iâ€™m intelligent, athletic and understanding. I speak a little bit of other languages. I love to win and was prepared to do anything to win,” Caite told PEOPLE.
As for her relationship with partner (and boyfriend)Â Brent Horne, Caite says, “We were friends first. We started dating a year into our friendship and weâ€™ve already been through a lot of crap. I figured doing theÂ Race would take our relationship to the next level and would make it clear whether we are meant for each other. Weâ€™re still together. We survived theÂ Race!”
So what wouldÂ Caite do with the prize money if she andÂ Brent win The Amazing Race? “I do love the Maserati so it is up there on my list of things I want. But I would have given $25,000 to my mother, $25,000 to my father, $15,000 to my grandmother, pay for college and divide $100,000 of it between various charities to help animals and people. Iâ€™m big on volunteering. Maybe I could get Brent to use his half to buy me the Maserati.”