New Miss America: 'First and foremost American' - New York News

New Miss America: 'First and foremost American'

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  • Miss America Nina Davuluri has strong ties to Michigan

    Miss America Nina Davuluri has strong ties to Michigan

    Monday, September 16 2013 8:32 AM EDT2013-09-16 12:32:29 GMT
    The winner of the 2014 Miss America crown has maize and blue roots. Nina Davuluri attended the University of Michigan where she graduated with a degree in cognitive science and brain behavior.
    The winner of the 2014 Miss America crown has maize and blue roots. Nina Davuluri, the 24-year-old Miss New York, attended the University of Michigan where she graduated with a degree in cognitive science and brain behavior.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Nina Davuluri isn't the first Miss America of color. She's not even the first Asian-American to wear the crown. But her victory has clearly struck a chord in some quarters.

At a news conference held after her name was announced Sunday night, the first question was about a slew of social media users apparently upset that someone of Indian heritage had won. Some tweets called her Arab and a terrorist.

"I have to rise above that," said Davuluri, who competed as Miss New York. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

She said she's delighted that the nearly century-old pageant sees beauty and talent of all kinds.

"I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity," she said. "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."

Her pageant platform was "celebrating diversity through cultural competency." Her talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance.

Davuluri, a 24-year-old native of Syracuse, N.Y., wants to be a doctor and is applying to medical school, with the help of a $50,000 scholarship she won as part of the pageant title. She's the second consecutive Miss New York to win the Miss America crown, succeeding Mallory Hagan, who was selected in January.

Davuluri's grandmother said she cried when she saw the news on television.

"I am very, very happy for the girl. It was her dream, and it was fulfilled," 89-year-old Vege Koteshwaramma said by phone from her home in Vijaywada, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

There are numerous doctors in the family, in the U.S. and India, she said, and if her granddaughter wants to become one, "I am sure she will do it."

Asked about her granddaughter appearing in a bikini, given the conservative attitudes in India, Koteshwaramma said: "I haven't seen any such thing. This must be all part of the competition."

Davuluri is the second Asian-American winner, after Angela Perez-Baraquio, who is of Filipino descent and won in 2001.

She now heads to New York City to prepare for TV talk show appearances and plans to take in Broadway musicals over the next several days.

On Tuesday, she'll see "Pippin." On Wednesday, she'll meet former Miss America and fellow Syracuse native Vanessa Williams and see "The Trip To Bountiful," in which Williams appears.

Williams became the first black Miss America in 1984 but resigned after Penthouse magazine published nude photographs of her.

Monday morning, Davuluri took the traditional ocean frolic dip in the surf in front of Boardwalk Hall, where she won the title hours earlier. The pageant, which originated in Atlantic City in 1921, spent the past six years in Las Vegas before returning to New Jersey.

"Welcome home, Miss America!" Davuluri said as she stood barefoot in the shallow surf, wearing a lime green Miss America T-shirt and white shorts. "We're back in Atlantic City!"

Davuluri had planned to go to the scene of a devastating boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights on Monday afternoon. But pageant officials canceled that visit after learning that Gov. Chris Christie was making cabinet officials available at that time to business owners victimized by the fire and said Davuluri will visit later.

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  • 8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:26:31 GMT
    Officials are investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology.The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine.
    The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at Stevens Institute of Technology.  The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.



  • Search for woman who tried to snatch baby in stroller

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:37:43 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
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