Nina Davuluri of New York state has won the 2014 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, becoming the first woman of Indian heritage to win the legendary contest.
The 24-year-old Davuluri from Syracuse will use the $50,000 scholarship she won to attend medical school.
Davuluri performed a Bollywood fusion dance for her talent demonstration. She and the other 52 contestants — one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands — were also judged by a personal interview, their answers to an on-stage question, and their appearance in formal evening gowns and swimwear during the nationally-televised pageant.
During her year as Miss America, Davuluri will serve as spokesperson for STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – as she travels to Washington to work with the U.S. Department of Education.
The new Miss America says she is proud to be the first Indian-American to hold the title, and praised the Miss America organization for embracing diversity.
Davuluri is the second consecutive New York native to win the Miss America crown, succeeding Mallary Hagan, who earned the title in January when the pageant was held in Las Vegas.