I never watch the Miss America pageant, but I wish someone would have told me that an Indian-American girl was a contender! I would have watched it then! Namaste, sister. As it turns out, this year’s Miss New York is an Indian-American named Nina Davuluri, and last night she was crowned Miss America. It’s a groundbreaking choice – Nina is the first Miss America of Indian descent. For her talent, she performed a Bollywood-style Indian dance.
Moments after winning the 2014 Miss America crown, Nina Davuluri described how delighted she is that the nearly century-old pageant sees beauty and talent of all kinds. The 24-year-old Miss New York is the first contestant of Indian heritage to become Miss America; her talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said in a press conference after winning the crown in Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Her pageant platform was “celebrating diversity through cultural competency.”
The native of Syracuse, N.Y. wants to be a doctor, and is applying to medical school, with the help of a $50,000 scholarship she won as part of the pageant title.
She is the second consecutive Miss New York to win the Miss America crown, succeeding Mallory Hagan, who was selected in January when the pageant was still held in Las Vegas. The Miss America Organization will compensate Hagan for her shortened reign.
Davuluri’s victory led to some negative comments on Twitter from users upset that someone of Indian heritage had won the pageant. She brushed those aside.
“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
She had planned to go to the scene of a devastating boardwalk fire in the New Jersey communities of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights Monday afternoon. But pageant officials canceled that visit after learning that Gov. Chris Christie was making cabinet officials available at that same time to business owners victimized by the fire. Davuluri will visit at an unscheduled future date, pageant officials said early Monday.
She will still make the traditional frolic in the Atlantic City surf Monday morning.
Her first runner-up was Miss California, Crystal Lee. Other top 5 finalists included Miss Minnesota, Rebecca Yeh; Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, and Miss Oklahoma, Kelsey Griswold. In the run-up to the pageant, much attention was given to Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, the Army sergeant who was believed to have been the first Miss America contestant to openly display tattoos. She has the Serenity Prayer on her rib cage, and a smaller military insignia on the back of one shoulder.
Vail won a nationwide “America’s Choice” vote to advance as a semi-finalist, but failed to make it into the Top 10.
So, about the Twitter backlash… I just read a CNN story about it, and I don’t know whether I should cry out of frustration or laugh at the parade of morons who decide to tweet some of the most ignorant, racist, idiotic bulls—t ever. Here’s a treasury of stupid:
“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American.” [Note: she IS American.]
“WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISSAMERICA? Ever??!!”
“And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.” [Note: Indians are not of Semitic descent.]
“Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote.” [Note: she’s Hindu, not Muslim]
“The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this – but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica.” – Todd Starnes, host of Fox News.
“Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11.”
“this is America. not India.”
“Egypt dancing? This is America.”
“Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda?”
“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?”
“Miss America is a terrorist. Whatever. It’s fine.”
Jesus. Christ. Is this really what “America” thinks of Indian-Americans? This is so depressing.
Photos courtesy of Nina’s Instagram.