Nina Davuluri has become the first American contestant of Indian origin to win the Miss America pageant, as well as being the second consecutive winner from New York.
Davuluri paid homage to her Indian heritage by performing a Bollywood number during the performing segment of the show. While during the Q and A segment, the aspiring doctor addressed the topic of plastic surgery, saying, “I don’t agree with plastic surgery, however I can understand that from a standpoint. More importantly I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door. And Miss America is always evolving… I wouldn’t want to change someone’s looks. Be confidant in who you are.”
After winning the pageant, Davuluri attended her first press conference and spoke about how happy she is that the Miss America Organization was “diverse” in choosing its winner. She said, “I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity. I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
In total, 52 contestants took part in the pageant this year. Besides Davuluri, the other finalists were Miss California Crystal Lee, Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold, Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones and Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh.
The pageant, which is known as a “scholarship pageant,” awards scholarships to young contestants from the 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. The Miss America Scholarship programme is the largest provider of scholarship money to young women in the world. In 2010, the program gifted more than $45m (£28) in cash and scholarship assistance.