Nina Davuluri Caught Off Guard By Julie Chen Question, But Not By Racist Haters

Since winning the title of Miss America, Nina Davuluri has become the nationwide center of attention. From racist haters to supportive members of the community, just about everyone seemed compelled to voice their opinion about the first Indian Miss America. Finally, it’s her turn to speak up.

Nina Davuluri dished it all in an interview with The Wall Street Journal‘s Jeff Yang. After discussing the various misconceptions about pageants, Davuluri explained her own reasons for partaking in the competition. Aside from using the winnings for med school, Davuluri expressed her desire to change the “girl-next-door” look of pageant winners.

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“I grew up watching Miss America for years and years, and as the daughter of immigrants, I always thought to myself that I could never be that — because I didn’t look a certain way; I didn’t fit the model of what was up there on that screen,” she says. “And it shouldn’t be about race, it shouldn’t — but it is. To be able to stand up there, and be an example for other little girls that America is now a very different place, that’s everything to me.”

Because of her platform, “Diversity Through Cultural Sensitivity,” we were surprised to learn that Davuluri was caught off guard with her pageant question pertaining to Julie Chen.

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Although there have been mixed reactions to her response, Davuluri explained herself in further detail to The Wall Street Journal. She revealed that she empathized with Julie Chen and understands that it is our society, unfortunately, that made Chen feel the need to change herself.

She may have been caught off guard by her Julie Chen question, but she certainly wasn’t caught off guard by all the racist reactions to her win. In fact, she claims she expected it.

“I’d already experienced something like it on a smaller scale when I won Miss New York,” she explains. “It’s part of the reason I was so determined to focus my platform on diversity. But you can’t just scream in the dark, you have to try to shed light and awareness.”

Read the full article here.

Image of The Day: Kunal Nayyar Supports Miss America Nina Davuluri

There were many reactions to Nina Davuluri winning Miss America. Unfortunately, many of these reactions were not the praise and compliments that are typically showered upon a newly crowned Miss America.

Twitter exploded with racist comments about the first Indian Miss America. Many tweets referenced 9/11, called her a terrorist and even refused to acknowledge her as an American despite her being born and raised in New York. As expected, this gained nationwide attention, though not the attention we would hope for.

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In the midst of all the undeserved hate and racism, some good came from this. Many individuals fought back in support of Davuluri and her well-deserved title.

Among these supporters was The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar. The actor tweeted his congratulations, then quickly commented on the negative reactions to Miss America.

Nayyar, who was featured in our Summer 2013 issue, gives us yet another reason to love him.

Be sure to check out the Top Five Reasons Miss America Nina Davuluri is AWESOME

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Top Five Reasons Miss America Nina Davuluri is AWESOME

For the second year in a row, the Miss America tiara went to New York. This year, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri took the title.

Unfortunately, this celebratory moment quickly turned sour when Twitter exploded with racist comments about the newly-crowned Miss America. So we should probably clarify a few things to these terribly mistaken individuals. For starters, they seem to be missing the biggest point of all — Nina Davuluri is awesome.

1) She is making history for Asian Americans, and she knows it.
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Born in New York to Indian parents, Davuluri is the first contestant of Indian descent to become Miss America.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said in her first press conference after being crowned Miss America. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

In fact, as Davuluri and Miss California, Crystal Lee, embraced each other right before the winner was announced, Davuluri told the host, “We’re both so proud. We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian Americans.”

 

2) She proud of her roots: she performed Bollywood.

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Although she missed her cue (sound was apparently poor for those on stage), Davuluri’s performance was one not to be missed. For her talent performance, Davuluri performed a classic Bollywood fusion with “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” as a platform. Although she has 15 years of training in Indian dance, Miss America traveled to Los Angeles to train with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan for the performance.

This is the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage.

 

3) She doesn’t bash other Asian Americans.
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Coincidentally, Davuluri was asked about another Asian American woman, Julie Chen. The television personality was recently criticized for undergoing surgery to boost her career.

Rather than criticize her fellow Asian American, Davuluri commented that although surgery wasn’t her personal choice, we should not criticize others for it. She commented on the importance of diversity and being confident in who you are.

 

4) She’s “going places” in the future.
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Not only is this woman beautiful, she’s also quite intelligent. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, and landed a spot on the Dean’s List, a Michigan Merit Award, and a National Honor Society Award.

With the $50,000 she earned from this pageant, Davuluri will apply to medical school and eventually hopes to be a cardiologist.

 

5) She dismisses the haters.
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Although racist haters tried to bring her down, Davuluri decided to rise above the ignorant comments. She did not allow them to ruin a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

“I have to rise above that,” she said at a press conference. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Read more here.

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Miss America Makes History with First Indian American Winner… But Not Without Racist Haters

On Sunday night, New York’s Nina Davuluri made pageant history by becoming the first woman of Indian descent to snag the prestigious title of Miss America.

But not long after the coveted crown was placed on her head, Davuluri, who performed a Bollywood fusion dance routine for the talent portion of the competition, quickly became the focus of discriminatory and racist comments on various social media platforms. The 24-year-old aspiring doctor was referred to, among other things, as “Miss 7-11,” “Miss Al-Qaeda,” and as a “terrorist.” Some expressed their disappointment that an “Arab” who had performed “Egypt dancing” won Miss America, just days after the 9/11 anniversary. Some even retorted that a Miss America winner “should have to be American.”

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In her first press conference as Miss America, Davuluri addressed the issue, quickly (and gracefully) putting aside the negativity.

“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. … I have to rise above [the comments]. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

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Going into the pageant, Davuluri’s platform issue was “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency,” and sad instances such as these prove the platform’s continuing necessity and relevance in the U.S. Thankfully, in about an hour, the Twittersphere exploded with tweets in support of Davuluri, drowning out the small minority of ignoramuses.