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

New Miss America: 'First and foremost American'

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  • New Miss America: 'First and foremost American'More>>

  • 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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  • Staten Island rally and march preparations

    Staten Island rally and march preparations

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:49 GMT
    All was calm and quiet Friday evening in Staten Island but Saturday thousands are expected to descend on Tompkinsville for a march that organizers are promising will be peaceful. The march will culminate in a rally right outside the 120th Precinct. Representatives from the national action network were in Staten Island Friday making preparations for Saturday's demonstration, which is estimated to draw at least 5,000 people from all over the country.
    All was calm and quiet Friday evening in Staten Island but Saturday thousands are expected to descend on Tompkinsville for a march that organizers are promising will be peaceful. The march will culminate in a rally right outside the 120th Precinct. Representatives from the national action network were in Staten Island Friday making preparations for Saturday's demonstration, which is estimated to draw at least 5,000 people from all over the country.
  • August 23, 2014

    Staten Island march traffic and transit advisory

    Staten Island march traffic and transit advisory

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:23 GMT
    The NYPD and the MTA have announced road and transit changes for Staten Island that will be in effect on Saturday, August 23, 2014, due to the scheduled rally in honor of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died during an arrest.
    The NYPD and the MTA have announced road and transit changes for Staten Island that will be in effect on Saturday, August 23, 2014, due to the scheduled rally in honor of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died during an arrest.
  • Newark school enrollment problems

    Newark school enrollment problems

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:17 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:17:11 GMT
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
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