Twenty-four-year-old Nina Davuluri
today became the first contestant of Indian heritage to win
the Miss America pageant.
Nina, who aspires to become a physician like her
father, will earn at least USD 50,000 in scholarships.
Davuluri's parents and sister, along with more than 30
other supporters, watched her compete in the live ABC
television broadcast from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Davuluri, in a canary-yellow evening gown, walked the
runway after being named Miss America, waving and brushing
away tears of joy.
Contestants were judged on evening gowns,
lifestyle/fitness, talent, a personal interview and an
Davuluri was asked about the wisdom of TV anchor getting
plastic surgery on her eyes to alter her appearance.
Davuluri said she's against plastic surgery, but said
people should make their own choice but be confident in their
She showcased a classical Bollywood fusion dance piece as
Soon after being named Miss New York, Davuluri flew to
Los Angeles to work with Nakul Dev Mahajan, a choreographer
with the So You Think You Can Dance
She also had formal training in Indian dance for the past
15 years, including summers in India.
Her message is "celebrating diversity through cultural
competency," and Davuluri has said she's had to dispel a lot
of misconceptions about her culture through the year, such as
whether her parents will arrange a marriage for her.
Davuluri, who struggled with bulimia and weight problem,
said she lost 60 pounds prior to becoming Miss New York.
Davuluri was born in Syracuse, but moved to Oklahoma at
age four then to Michigan at 10.
Six years ago, her family moved to Fayetteville, where
her dad is an obstetrician/gynaecologist affiliated with St
Davuluri's degree from the University of Michigan is in
brain behaviour and cognitive science.
She plans to become a physician and says she would love
to attend Upstate Medical University.
She says she's a 'Type A personality', and makes it a
priority to stay organised every minute.