News

Miss New York first Indian-American to win ‘America’ crown

Miss New York first Indian-American to win ‘America’ crown

Miss America contestant, Miss New York Nina Davuluri (L) reacts with 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan after being chosen winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Photo: Reuters

By Victoria Cavaliere

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (Reuters) – Nina Davuluri won the 2014 Miss America pageant on Sunday, becoming the first Indian-American to wear the crown, which went to Miss New York for the second year in a row.

“I’m so happy this organization has celebrated diversity, and, on this stage tonight, there was so much diversity,” Davuluri told reporters shortly after defeating contestants from 49 other states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“I’m so proud to be the first Indian Miss America,” the 24-year-old aspiring physician said.

EXTRA: Miss America contestants make history
 PHOTOS: Miss America’s Shoes | Miss America Pageant

The field was narrowed to Davuluri and Miss California Crystal Lee, the first runner-up. Just before the results were announced, Davuluri said, “We are making history right here as Asian-Americans.”

Contestants were judged on a personal interview, a talent demonstration, an on-stage question, and their appearance in evening gowns and swimwear during the two-hour nationally televised event.

Davuluri performed a Bollywood fusion dance and was asked about revelations that American television personality Julie Chen had plastic surgery on her eyes. Davuluri answered that she personally was opposed to plastic surgery and said that one’s diversity should be celebrated.

As the winner, Davuluri will receive a $50,000 scholarship. She said she would use the money to pay for graduate school.

Last year’s winner, Mallory Hagan from New York, crowned her successor.

Several contestants made headlines during preliminary competitions. Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly, was born without her left forearm and said the competition helped her promote a platform of overcoming disabilities. Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas and a sergeant in the Army National Guard, became the first contestant to display tattoos.

The 93-year-old beauty pageant returned to its hometown of Atlantic City, New Jersey, this year after an eight-year stretch in Las Vegas.

Atlantic City is about 60 miles south of Seaside Park, New Jersey, the site of a massive boardwalk fire on Thursday night. In a press conference following the pageant, Davuluri volunteered to help clean up the damaged boardwalk.

The pageant’s return to the New Jersey shore could help the local economy, which was hard hit by last year’s Superstorm Sandy. The Atlantic City Alliance, an economic development group, estimated it would bring in about $30 million in business.

The Miss America pageant was televised live by ABC, which picked up the contest again in 2011 after dropping it in 2004 because of a steep ratings decline. Miss America has seen its popularity ebb and flow over its nearly 100-year history and it has been the target of critics who say the pageant format objectifies women.

The judges were former Miss America Deidre Downs Gunn, the New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire, Lance Bass from the boy band ‘N Sync, comedian Mario Cantone, violinist Joshua Bell and television chef Carla Hall.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Stacey Joyce)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Election 2016, National

Christie expected to end 2016 White House bid

Fresh
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embraces his son Patrick during a primary night rally in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At left is Christie's older son Andrew and wife Mary Pat at right. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Christie had banked his presidential prospects on a strong finish in New Hampshire, but finished behind most Republican rivals.

2 hours ago in National

Yellen: Fed not likely to reverse course on rates despite risks

Fresh
U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December.

2 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

Updated
A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Yasmeen Abutaleb (Reuters) – Twitter Inc made a dramatic product change on Wednesday, saying it will recast the way…

6 hours ago in National

Senate to vote on hitting North Korea with tougher sanctions

northkorea

The Senate is considering legislation to hit North Korea with more stringent sanctions.

6 hours ago in Entertainment, National

Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Updated
Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine. Shkreli refused to testify before U.S. lawmakers who excoriated him over severe hikes for a drug sold by a company that he acquired. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Shkreli has bragged that he had no plans to listen to the album, but bought it to "keep it from the people."