Miss New York Nina Davuluri has been crowned Miss America 2014; she is the first American contestant of Indian origin to win the pageant.
Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014 at the annual pageant that took place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on 15 September.
Davuluri, 24, is also the second consecutive Miss New York to win Miss America title. She succeeded Mallory Hagan, who crowned her the winner of 2014 at the pageant’s finale.
During her first press meet after winning the pageant, Davuluri praised the Miss America Organization for being “diverse” and not going the stereotyped way of choosing a winner.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” Davuluri, who made it to the top five finalists after performing a classical and Bollywood fusion dance during talent competition, said. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
A total 52 contestants vied for the Miss America 2014 title at the pageant’s finale. Besides Nina Davuluri, the other four contestants who made it the top five finalists were Miss California Crystal Lee (runner-up), Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold, Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones and Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh.
Miss America pageant, which is known as a “scholarship pageant” rather than a beauty pageant, awards scholarships to young contestants from the 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. The primary prizes for the winner of the coveted title and her runners-up are scholarships to the institution of their choice.
Nina Davuluri wants to pursue a career in medicine and she said she will apply to medical schools with the help of the scholarship amount she won at the pageant.
The Miss America Scholarship programme, developed by the Miss America Organization, is the largest provider of scholarship money to young women in the world. In 2010, it made available more than $45m (£28m) in cash and scholarship assistance.
Have a look at the photos from crowning moments of Miss America 2014 pageant:
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