Indian-origin beauty queen becomes Miss America 2014
New Jersey/Houston: Twenty-four-year-old Miss New York Nina Davuluri today became the first contestant of Indian-origin to win the prestigious Miss America pageant after wooing the judges with a Bollywood fusion dance.
Nina, who aspires to become a physician like her father,will earn at least USD 50,000 in scholarships. She was crowned Miss America during an event held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"I am so happy this organisation has embraced diversity," she said in her first press conference after winning the crown. "I am 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" and Davuluri said she's had to dispel a lot of misconceptions about her culture through the years, such as whether her parents will arrange a marriage for her.
She said she plans to represent her roots and push her platform of diversity in her new role. "I am most excited to promote my platform, I was the first Indian Miss New York and I'm so proud to be the first Indian Miss America," she said tearfully.
Davuluri, in a canary-yellow evening gown, walked the runway after being named Miss America, waving and brushing away tears of joy. Fifty three gorgeous women from as many states participated in the competition. Miss California Crystal Lee was the runner-up. Miss Oklahoma Kesley Griswold came in third place.
Contestants were judged on evening gowns, lifestyle/fitness, talent, a personal interview and an on-stage question. Davuluri is the second consecutive Miss New York to win the Miss America crown, succeeding Mallory Hagan.
She was asked about the wisdom of TV anchor getting plastic surgery on her eyes to alter her appearance.
Davuluri said she's against plastic surgery, but said people should make their own choice but be confident in their appearances.
She showcased a classical Bollywood fusion dance piece as her talent.