Nina Davuluri became the first Miss America of Indian descent. The 24-year-old Miss New York was crowned on Sunday 15th September in Atlantic City. Some viewers took to social media sites to express their unhappiness at the judges' decision, racially abusing Davuluri.
Nina Davuluri made history after being crowned Miss America 2014 at Sunday's ceremony held in Atlantic City. Nina Davuluri is the first winner of the crown of Indian descent. The New Yorker celebrated her heritage by performing a Bollywood dance for the talent section of the pageant, also another first. On this subject, whilst being interviewed on Good Morning America, Davuluri said "It's the first time Bollywood has ever been performed on the Miss America stage and it's such an honour for myself, my family and the Indian community, as well."
Nina Davuluri after being crowned Miss America 2014.
However, the response to the crowning of Davuluri was shocking, as many viewers took to social media sites to racially abuse the new Miss America. Some users of Twitter referred to American born Davuluri as "the Arab" and "Miss 7-11." Yet another user wrote "This is America, not India", according to USA Today.
Davuluri was not perturbed by the ridiculous comments made by some viewers. The 24-year-old winner on the subject of the social media reaction said, according to the Associated Press, "I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American," also stating, "I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity. I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."
Nina Davuluri made sure no one could doubt her national pride by visiting New York and paying tribute to those who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She posted a picture on the official Miss America Instagram, adding the caption "With great American pride I'm honoured to begin my year of service as Miss America with a visit to the Freedom Tower; a symbol of our nations resilience, strength, and unity. #ProudToBeAnAmerican".
Nina Davuluri at one of the Miss America pageant events in Atlantic City.
This is not the first time a Miss America contestant has been subject to insults. Vanessa Williams, best known to us due to her roles in Ugly Betty (as Wilhelmina Slater) and as the singer of the Pocahontas film song 'Colours of the Wind', won the pageant in 1983 and was the first African American woman to win the crown. Another Miss New York, the model turned singer turned actress received death threats and negative attention owing to the release of nude photographs. PBS argues the reaction to such images would not have been so violent had Williams not been an African American woman.
Nina Davuluri performing her Bollywood style dance at the Miss America pageant.