News East West
NEW YORK: The newly crowned Miss America Nina Davuluri, who is the first woman of Indian origin to win the US beauty crown, says she had readied herself for racist backlash even before she won the title on September 15.
“It was something I wasn’t surprised about. I’d experienced those same kind of remarks when I’d won Miss New York and I knew if I won Miss America it would happen again,’’ 24-year-old Davuluri told the News over breakfast on Saturday.
She said similar things had happened to first African American Miss America Vanessa William in 1983, and she herself was expecting similar hatred.
“She (Vanessa) had the similar response and backlash when she was crowned. It just shows, in 30 years, yes, we’ve evolved, but how much further we have to go, because it’s a very similar conversation,’’ the Indian American beauty queen said.
Interestingly, Davuluri said what drove her to compete in beauty pageants was not her quest for fame or the perfect bikini body but her desire to become a doctor for which she needed money to pay for her medical school.
Now she expects to pay part of her expenses from the $50,000 scholarship she has won with the Miss America beauty pageant.
“A part of the reason (for competing in the Miss America pageant) was for scholarship money,’’ she said.
Davuluri kicks off her year-long roadshow as part of the Miss America title.