Miss America, Nina Davuluri - Beauty, Brains and Ambition

On September 14, 2013, two beautiful women clad in full length gowns held hands on the stage of the Atlantic City Convention hall waiting in nervous anticipation for the name of the next Miss America to be announced. The announcer said, “Your new Miss America is… Miss New York,” and, with that, Nina Davuluri was thrust onto the national stage and made history by becoming the first Miss America of Indian descent. In shock and disbelief, she began her customary runway walk among screaming admirers and camera flashes. “It was such a crazy moment. I was looking for my mom in the audience,” says Davuluri.

After spending about 20 minutes with family and friends following her win, Davuluri was asked to pack up her belongings into two suitcases to begin her year of non-stop travelling. “Everyone wants to win Miss America, but not everyone wants the job of Miss America. It’s very much a year of service,” says Davuluri. “I travel incessantly – 20,000 miles a month.” The Miss America contest, since its inception in 1921 as an exciting local seaside pageant, is still a popular American cultural institution that has become entirely scholarship driven.

Brains, beauty and style are what Nina Davuluri is all about. With the $25,000 in scholarship money she won as Miss Syracuse, she was able to graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, earning a spot on the Dean’s List, a Michigan Merit Award, and a National Honor Society award too.

Since being crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri’s win has created controversy. However, Davuluri, whose pageant platform is “celebrating diversity through cultural competency,” hasn’t seem bothered. “I have to rise above that,” she says. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American. Traditionally Miss America has been the girl next door, but that’s evolved as America has evolved.”
The silver lining is that her title as Miss America awarded her $50,000 in scholarship money, which she will apply to her next phase of studies. Amongst her many responsibilities as Miss America is acting as brand ambassador for the internationally renowned brand Joseph Ribkoff.

This article is from our latest edition of Luxury Report Magazine. You can read the full magazine here.


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