10 Things You Need to Know About Miss America Nina Davuluri
Miss New York Nina Davuluri stunned many when she was crowned Miss
America in Atlantic City Sunday night, making her the first winner of
Indian descent. Of course, South Asian Twitter was quick to congratulate
Davuluri for her big win (we trust you can find those racist tweets
yourselves). Here are the ten things you need to know about the new Miss
1. She boldly predicted her win in her official bio.
In a video posted to the Miss New York homepage,
Davuluri looks straight into the camera and says, “I’m on a mission.
Miss America has always been the girl next door. But Miss America is
evolving. And she’s not going to look the same anymore.”
2. She fully recognizes the historic nature of her win.
Moments before being crowned the winner, Davuluri paid tribute to the
fact that two Asian Americans were the last two standing. “We’re both
so proud. We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian
Americans,” she told host Lara Spencer, referring to herself and
runner-up Miss California Crystal Lee. “As you should be,” replied
3. She’s a classically trained dancer.
According to her official bio,
Davuluri regularly traveled to the southern Indian city of Vijayawada
to study both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dance. “Every other summer my
family would travel to India for a couple of months, and while we were
there we took lessons nearly every day with a dance master,” she told Syracuse.com.
4. Her “Bollywood Fusion” dance routine was choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance’s Nakul Dev Mahajan.
The artistic director was the creative force behind Katee Sheen and
Joshua Allen’s routine, also to Dhoom Taana, in 2008. In its live blog, The South Jersey Times described the performance as “a fun dance with plenty of energy.”
5. She won despite missing her cue.
Host Lara Spencer had to repeatedly say “Miss New York!…. Miss New York!” before Davuluri finally took the stage
before her Bollywood routine. It’s unclear if this was caused by a bout
of nervousness or because it was simply too loud inside the theater.
6. Surprise! She’s pre-med.
Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan last year with a
degree in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science. She says she’s planning
to apply to medical school soon.
7. She self-identifies as a nerd.
“I love Star Wars, Star Trek and anything sci-fi,” she said in the aforementioned biographical video.
8. She’s a recovering bulimic.
The newly crowed beauty queen has spoken openly about her struggles with weight, body image and bulimia in the past.
9. Unlike most of her peers, she’s student debt-free.
Davuluri says a combination of parental assistance and $25,000 in pageant scholarship money funded her undergraduate degree.
10. She’s now the second-most famous former Miss Syracuse.
Exactly 30 years ago, actress and singer Vanessa Williams (and fellow former Miss Syracuse) was crowned Miss America. Williams’ win was also historic, as she was the first African American Miss America.
Lakshmi Gandhi is a co-founder and editor of The Aerogram. Follow her on Twitter at @LakshmiGandhi or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find The Aerogram on Twitter at @theaerogram.