Miss New York Nina Davuluri won the Miss America pageant on Sunday night in Atlantic City, N.J., making her the first Indian American to win the contest. She also follows another Miss New York, Mallory Hagan.
This year’s contest has been one of the most diverse yet: an army sergeant with tattoos, a contestant who was born missing half her arm, another with a bedazzled knee brace and then, Miss New York, who became Miss America on Sunday night and revealed she had struggled with bulimia.
"I had bad asthma, I gained a lot of weight, and I stepped back and thought: 'I'm not going to live long unless I change,'" she told Syracuse.com about her last semester at the University of Michigan. "This is not who I want to be, and it is not the way I want to portray myself to the world,” she thought about herself.
The 24-year-old then started a strict regimen of healthy-eating and regular exercise. Now, the Indian-American contestant wants to go to med school to become a doctor, according to her Miss America profile.
For her talent, she performed "classic Bollywood fusion” and her platform is “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency,” her Miss America profile says.
The question she was asked after the top 5 were announced was regarding news anchor Julie Chen’s controversial plastic surgery.
The precise question on Sunday night read: “Julie Chen had plastic surgery to appear less Asian. What do you think of her decision?” Davuluri quickly stated she didn’t approve of plastic surgery, but then continued: "I've always viewed Miss America as the girl next door and the girl next door is evolving."
But Davuluri’s win doesn’t come without controversy. She reportedly called Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, 24, “fat as f***.”
Hollywood Life quoted the source who spoke to the Post and said the new Miss America “invited friends back to her hotel room after her win. A girl in the next room overheard their conversation, and was so offended she decided to tape part of it.”
The insider continued: “A friend of Davuluri was supposedly heard making racist remarks, and Davuluri is allegedly heard on the tape blasting Miss America, saying, ‘Mallory’s fat as f***.’”
A rep for Miss America said there wasn’t any validity to the story, and according to Hollywood Life, the 24-year-old beauty took to her Facebook page to set the record straight.
“I want to apologize for the awful statements made by people in my room,” she wrote. “There were people who claimed to be my supporters and said things I never agreed with, nor supported…I was never a part of the words or statements that may have been hurtful…I’m sorry if someone said something that was inappropriate.”