Kira Kazantsev was named Miss America 2015 on Sunday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It's the third consecutive year someone from New York was crowned the winner and the first time it's been three years in a row that a winner from the same state has been crowned. Listed below are some interesting things to know about the winner who took over Nina Davuluri’s title.
She’s not from New York originally. Kazantsev was raised in California, the New York Daily News wrote. She moved to the Big Apple five years ago for college.
Kazantsev, 22, is the daughter of Russian immigrants and speaks Russian, English and Spanish, Parade wrote. “Over the five years that I have lived here, I’ve spent a lot of time in Brooklyn, and I always enjoy spending time in the Russian-speaking community. It’s like a home away from home, as my family is back in California,” she told Brooklyn Daily.
Kazantsev attended Hofstra University and triple-majored in political science, global studies and geography, Parade wrote. Her goal is “to obtain a Juris Doctorate and a Master’s degree in Business Administration,” according to her Miss America profile. She was accepted to Fordham University's Law School.
And she can multi-task. For the talent portion of the pageant, she sang “Happy” by Pharell Williams and performed it with a cup routine. Kazantsev was reportedly inspired by Anna Hendrick’s audition from the movie “Pitch Perfect.” The actress even responded to the performance by sending out a message on Twitter.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) September 15, 2014
The routine received criticism, but she thinks people should be worried about other things instead of her red cup. "There are so many more important issues in this world that people should be worried about than my plastic cup," she told the Associated Press Monday, according to Newsday. "However, as Miss America, everything I do is scrutinized and I understand that. That's part of the job.”
Kazantsev, whose platform is domestic violence, volunteers with Safe Horizon, a group that provides shelter for abused women. “I definitely had friends that saw this and tried to help and didn’t know what to do,” she told NPR. “And at that point I isolated myself. I was completely isolated from any help they were offering me. The main goal is to get people talking about it. If people are willing to talk about it, they’re not scared of it, it’s not taboo.”
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