Atlanta, GA: Nina Davuluri, 24, created history as the first Indian-American contestant to be crowned Miss America on Sunday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pageant had pitted 53 contestants — one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.
The nationally televised pageant was back in Boardwalk Hall, where judges chose a winner to succeed the current title-holder Mallory Hagan.
Davuluri, who represented New York, grew up in Fayetteville, NY just east of Syracuse, where her family immigrated to from India 30 years ago. She still resides there today, according to the Ms New York pageant website.
Moments after she won the crown, the twitter world was filled with racist comments.
“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,” said one.
How the f* does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab!!” said another.
“Asian or Indian, are you kiddin this is America OMG,” was another racist tweet.
Some people were offended that she was crowned Miss America so close to the anniversary of 9/11.
“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?” one tweet said.
Others joked about her having links to a terrorist group with tweets like: “Miss America right now or miss Al Qaeda?”
The new Miss America brushed aside the negative tweets. “I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Davuluri graduated in 2012 from the University of Michigan with a degree in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science. She plans to apply to medical school and pursue a career as a physician. While attending the University of Michigan, Nina served as a Student Assembly Representative, Pan-Hellenic Delegate, and the Indian American Student Association Executive Board Member.
Nina’s social platform, stems from her heritage. Nina is the first Indian-American to represent the Miss New York title. She also is an active voice for healthy lifestyle, inspired by her own lifetime battle with obesity.
Nina celebrated her Indian heritage by performing Bollywood Fusion style dance for the talent rounds.She has studied the Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam styles of dance during her brief stint in Vijayawada.
In her preparation for Miss America, Nina had the opportunity to train under famed Bollywood choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan.