Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough is a scientist…and a conservative? After the Miss District of Columbia contestant said health care is a privilege and not a right she was immediately and brutally attacked on social media.
Kara McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017 on Sunday evening during the pageant ceremony held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The 25-year-old U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffer will now go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. McCullough works in an office at the federal agency which focuses on emergency preparedness.
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough said during the Miss USA contest when asked if affordable health care for all Americans is a right of a privilege. “As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs.”
Kara McCullough is the first scientist to ever win the Miss USA crown and appears to be the only woman employed in such a field to even compete for the title. She was raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia but was born in Naples, Italy. She also lived in Sicily, Japan, South Korea, and Hawaii, the Miss USA Twitter feed reveals.
And your 2017 #MissUSA is…
Miss District of Columbia, Kara McCullough! pic.twitter.com/7LxXPBPfeu
— Miss USA (@MissUSA) May 15, 2017
Kara McCullough’s comments when asked about feminism also garnered nationwide attention. When asked to explain what feminism means and whether she considers herself to be a feminist, the Miss USA 2017 winner said she wanted to put a modern twist on an old label.
McCullough said she prefers to “transpose” the term feminism to “equalism.”
“I believe we’ve come a long way and there is more work to be done,” Kara McCullough said when expanding upon her answer to the feminism question after the Miss USA pageant. “I think domestically we are making progress and I do believe that we will become equal one day.”
During one of her many turns at the microphone McCullough said she hopes to inspire young Americans to pursue careers in the STEM fields. She reportedly garnered the most screen time during the contest, which often is said to be an indicator of who will be chosen as the eventual victor. Now that the Miss USA 2017 contest is over, the scientist and queen said she is very much looking forward to going to Waffle House and eating a Texas cheesesteak – with mayonnaise.
The Miss USA first runner-up was Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg. She is a marketing and Spanish student at Rutgers University. The 2017 second runner-up was Miss Minnesota Meridith Gould. She is currently studying apparel retail merchandising at the University of Minnesota.
— Miss USA (@MissUSA) May 15, 2017
Kara McCullough earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a specialization in radiochemistry from South Carolina State University. Miss USA 2017 is also involved in a youth outreach program called Science Exploration for Kids. Her father is a retired United States Navy Chief Petty Officer.
“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity,” Miss USA 2017 said after being crowned. “I just want to encourage so many women nationwide to find their passion in any subject possible and understand that nothing is difficult if you really, truly put the work in for it.”
Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber, was the first female military member to be crowned queen. She was also a Miss District of Columbia pageant winner, MSN reports. The same state has only won back-to-back Miss USA titles five times in the decades old contest. The District of Columbia has never before won consecutive titles.
What do you think about the health care privilege and feminism comments made by Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough?
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Images]