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NeNe Leakes Hopes Miss Utah Learns From Her Botched Answer

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'The New Normal' star NeNe Leakes
Photo Credit: Getty Images

NeNe Leakes is sending positive vibes to Miss Utah and Miss USA finalist Marissa Powell, who blundered her answer on Sunday's live pageant event.

During the question-and-answer round of the competition, Real Housewives of Atlanta star and Miss USA judge asked Powell about the stark reality that women continue to earn less than men but are the primary earners in 40 percent of American families with children.

The pageant finalist responded saying, “I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem right now.”

Powell continued, “I think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to create education better. So that we can solve this problem.”

Although Powell is getting lots of attention for her fumbled answer, Leakes encourages the third-runner-up to learn from this experience. "We all make mistakes that often result in a miscommunication," Leakes told PEOPLE. "Unfortunately, Miss Utah's error was very public. I'm confident she will use this experience and learn from it. Hopefully with all the attention she's getting… she can turn this negative into a positive."

PHOTO GALLERIES: Curvy Girl Style: NeNe Leakes