10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Miss America 2014: Nina Davuluri
Last night’s Miss America pageant was one that will go down in history books. It didn’t matter that Miss New York‘s Nina Davuluri missed her cue before the talent segment, she still managed to become the first Indian-American to win the coveted title.
She also seemed to be the most down-to-earth and intelligent; in response to a question on plastic surgery Davuluri said, “Be confident in who you are!” As a beauty queen, she certainly is.
But, who exactly is the lady behind all the gowns and crowns? We’ve rounded up the top ten facts you might not know about our glorious new Miss America:
University Of Michigan Graduate
Nina Davuluri, twenty-four, graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her degree in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science. Beauty and brains? Go Blue!
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Miss New York was nearly sixty pounds heavier before she re-entered the pageant world. She struggled with bulimia, binging on rich foods as comfort and then feeling shameful later. According to Syracuse.com, after she worked with personal trainer Tia Falcone, Nina adopted a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Aspires To Become A Doctor
Davuluri hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and eventually earn her medical degree. Her father is an obstetrician, but Nina expressed that she’d like to be a cardiologist. She says she’d love to attend Upstate Medical University.
Not A Native New Yorker (in the traditional sense)
Our new Miss America was born in Syracuse, but moved to Oklahoma at age four and then to Michigan at age ten. Just six years ago, her family moved to Fayetteville, where her dad works as a gynecologist affiliated with St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Worked With Famous “So You Think You Can Dance” Choreographer
Her outstanding, high-energy Bollywood talent performance last night really bolstered Nina’s overall score. She proved she has genuine rhythm and moves. In addition to her formal training in Indian dance for fifteen years, Davuluri also flew to Los Angeles to work with Nakul Dev Mahajan, a choreographer on the “So You Think You Can Dance” television show. The result was her jaw-dropping Bollywood routine.
In addition to spending summers in her family’s native country, India, Nina revealed during last night’s show that her favorite place to travel is Egypt.
She’s Got A Unique Platform
As the first Indian-American to win Miss America, Davuluri will certainly be able to promote her pageant platform, “celebrating diversity through cultural competency.” She’s dismissed critics of her multicultural heritage and winning the title saying, “I have to rise above that…I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Enjoys The Theater
According to the Washington Post, Miss New York is headed to New York City, where in addition to preparing for TV talk show appearances, she plans to view many Broadway musicals. She’ll see “Pippin” on Tuesday and “The Trip to Bountiful” on Wednesday, featuring former Miss America, Vanessa Williams.
Comes From A Loving, Supportive Family
Her mother, father and sister all attended the Miss American pageant last night. Even though her grandmother, 89-year-old Vege Koteshwaramma, could not see her live (she lives in Vijaywada, India) she did tell 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,” Koteshwaramma said.
A True Role Model
Davuluri hopes that young women who watched the pageant will be inspired by her newfound healthy lifestyle, instead of wanting to be stick thin. She hates the word “skinny” and prefers not to reveal her weight, so that impressionable girls don’t aspire to reach her number. Nina said the perfect weight, for any individual, is the plateau where you are healthy and feel good about yourself.
Top Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images