Miss New York Nina Davuluri won the Miss America 2014 pageant yesterday. The 24-year-old from Syracuse is the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America.
For the talent part of the show, which was held in New Jersey’s Atlantic City on Sept. 15, Davuluri performed a Bollywood dance routine, wowing the audience.
Davuluri succeeded Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, and expressed her shock at her win. “I haven’t even had time to get emotional,” she said. “I haven’t even had time to speak to my parents yet.”
The pageant winner also said, “I’m 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.”
Davuluri, who was born in Syracuse, is an aspiring doctor and plans to use the $50,000 scholarship she won last night for the studies. She attended the University of Michigan and has won several scholastic honors, including the Dean’s List, Michigan Merit Award, and National Honor Society Award.
Shortly after her win, trolls on social media attacked her win with many anti-Indian tweets. Some tweeted, “Miss America? You mean Miss 7-11” while others questioned her American citizenship. However, Davuluri responded to the criticism saying, “I have to rise above that, I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Miss California Crystal Lee was the runner-up among 53 women who took part in the pageant last night.
The 2014 Miss America pageant was hosted by Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer. Celebrity judges included Lance Bass, Carla Hall, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joshua Bell and Mario Cantone.
The top 15 semi-finalists were Miss Kansas, Miss California, Miss New York, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Connecticut, Miss Georgia, Miss Mississippi, Miss Texas, Miss Arkansas, Miss Missouri, Miss Kentucky, Miss Maryland, Miss Florida, Miss Wisconsin and Miss Minnesota.
See Miss America 2014 perform her Bollywood dance number in the video below: