Indian-American Nina Davuluri Crowned Miss America Amid Racist Backlash

Miss AMerica Nina Davuluri Michael Loccisano/Getty‘I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American,’ winner Nina Davuluri told press amid racist backlash over her win.

Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, was
crowned Miss Americaon Sunday evening in
Atlantic City.
The 24-year-old Syracuse resident is the first ever winner of Indian heritage.

While Davuluri is proud of her heritage — even performing a Bollywood dance during Sunday’s show and competing on a theme of “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” — many weren’t pleased.

What should have been a happy occasion turned sour.

Following Davuluri’s win, racist trolls took to Twitter to complain about the decision.

The Daily Mail grabbed some screenshots of tweets following the ceremony:

But Davuluri, who is not Muslim, has tried to ignore the hateful comments.

In interview after being crowned Miss America, she said: “I have to rise above that… I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

“I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity,” she said in a press conference after winning the crown in Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

But it’s not the first time Miss America has faced racism.

When Rima Fakih, who is of Lebanese descent, was crowned Miss USA in 2010, many were quick to try to link her to the militant group Hezbollah.

But Davuluri, who graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in brain behaviour and cognitive science, isn’t letting the haters get to her.

She plans to use her $US50,000 prize money to attend medical school and hopes to become a doctor.

Her father, who emigrated from India 30 years ago, is also a physician.

See how Davuluri won the competition.

She aced the questions portion with co-hosts Chris Harrison and Lara Spencer:

Wowed in the swimsuit competition:

She worked with famed Bollywood choreographer, Nakul Dev Mahajan, to perfect her dance moves in the talent portion:

And ultimately received the top honour, being crowned 2014 Miss America by 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan:

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