Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, took the crown in this year’s Miss America 2014 beauty pageant. It was the 87th year of the competition, and Davuluri was one of two Asian-Americans in the final round. Although she’s just a few days into her reign, Davuluri has already made history. She’s the first Indian-American Miss America.
Her win highlights how far the US has come, but also how far the country has to go: racists tweets flooded in on Twitter right after her victory.
Miss America told Tell Me More host Michel Martin about her crowing moment – redefining American beauty, and more.
Being the first Miss America of South Asian descent
“I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, but the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves. She’s not who she was 10 years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person come 10 years down the road.”
Reacting to ugly tweets
“It’s a difficult situation, and that was something I experienced even as Miss New York. That being said, for every one negative tweet or comment that I have seen or received, I have received dozens of positive words of encouragement, support and love.”
Representing New York on 9/11
“One of the preliminary rounds of competition fell on September 11. To stand on that stage and announce myself as Miss New York, and I said the Freedom Tower stands tall as a symbol of our nation’s resilience and unity. Just having that experience was so meaningful and so special.”
Following in the footsteps of the first Black Miss America, Vanessa Williams
“Well first let me just comment on Vanessa Williams. Because she was a former Miss Syracuse, and I was also a former Miss Syracuse. We both went on to win the Miss New York title in both two very historic Miss Americas. It was exactly 30 years ago to the date, September 15, we were both crowned. So that’s just so surreal.”