Nina Davuluri, 24, was crowned Miss America on Sunday, Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For the first time in Miss America pageant history, the winner is a beauty queen of Indian descent. For the second time in a row, the winner was Miss New York.
Moments after winning the 2014 Miss America crown, Davuluri described how delighted she is that the nearly century-old pageant sees beauty and talent of all kinds.
As soon as the crown was placed on top of the new Miss America's head, racist tweets about her flooded online. Most of them accused her of not being an American. Davuluri is an America. She is from Syracuse, New York. That's in America. Some accused her of being a Muslim. Many tweeters wasted no time connecting her to terrorism.
For the talent portion, she performed a classical Indian dance fused with Bollywood moves. It was the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage.
Even though Davuluri's victory led to some negative comments on Twitter from users upset that someone of Indian heritage had won the pageant, she didn't respond to any of the nasty tweets. She said:
"I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."
She competed on a platform of “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.”
She called her winning a victory for diversity in America. She said on ABC television Monday morning, "It's an honor for myself and my community."
Davuluri’s father is a physician, and she is going to use the $50,000 prize money to continue her education to become a physician like her father.
The University of Michigan honor student will serve as the official national goodwill ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.