Thursday, February 22, 2018
Top News App

Miss America victory marred by racist tweets (w/video)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — On her first day as the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri dipped her toes into the Atlantic City surf.

But hours earlier, she had to dive headfirst into the complex challenges of becoming the first Miss America of Indian heritage.

Moments after winning, Davuluri had her first test as Miss America: the first question she was asked in a news conference was about social media users who were upset that someone of Indian heritage had won.

"I have to rise above that," said Davuluri. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

She said she is delighted she is 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."

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

The 24-year-old is the second Asian-American winner, after Angela Perez-Baraquio, who is of Filipino descent, and won in 2001.

Davuluri, a 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 is the second consecutive Miss New York to win the Miss America crown, succeeding Mallory Hagan, who was selected in January.

Monday morning, she took the traditional ocean frolic dip in the Atlantic City surf in front of Boardwalk Hall, where she won the title hours earlier. The pageant, which originated in Atlantic City 1921, spent the last 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!"

Her grandmother told The Associated Press that 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 the city of Vijaywada, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

She said there are numerous doctors in the family, both in the U.S. and India, and that 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 about such things in India, Koteshwaramma said: "I haven't seen any such thing. This must be all part of the competition."

Davuluri had planned to go to the scene of a devastating boardwalk fire in the New Jersey communities of 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 same time to business owners victimized by the fire.

Davuluri will visit at an unscheduled future date, pageant officials said.

Instead, she was headed to New York City to prepare for a slew of TV talk show appearances, and planned to take in Broadway musicals over the next several days. On Tuesday, she will see "Pippin." On Wednesday, she will meet former Miss America (and fellow Syracuse native) Vanessa Williams and see "The Trip To Bountiful," a play in which Williams appears.

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

     
 
Comments
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican’s affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson is in the midst of another personal controversy that is reminiscent of his relationship several years ago with a stripper who used drugs.A couple who rents a room in Nicholson’s home got into ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after President Donald Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the gala’s organizer said.Rizzuto and his wife, Den...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year.A new indictment has long been expected in special cou...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Column: Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of these kids

Column: Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of these kids

Moments after the AR-15 assault at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hit the news, emails and social media alerts pinged in my in-box. I wrote a biography of the school’s namesake several years ago, and people were messaging to express their horro...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

TAMPA — Outback Steakhouse has been pressured to improve for awhile, but the restaurant chain isn’t cooked yet. In fact, a boost in Outback sales led its Tampa-based parent company to beat Wall Street expectations in its fourth quarter.Bloomin’ Brand...
Updated: 8 hours ago