Miss New York Kira Kazantsev Crowned Miss America 2015!

For the third consecutive year, a Miss New York has walked away with the crown of Miss America. At the Miss America 2015 pageant held at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Sunday night (September 14), Miss New York Kira Kazantsev managed to impress the judges and walked away with the crown.

Outgoing Miss America Nina Davluri handed over the title to her successor. Missing the crown by a whisker was first runner-up Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett. The other finalists in the 2015 Miss America pageant were Miss Arkansas Ashton Jo Campbell, Miss Florida Victoria Cowen, and Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn.

The performance that set Kira Kazantsev apart from her competitors at the 2015 Miss America pageant was her talent performance, in which she sang the famous Pharrell William song “Happy.” She performed it in her own special way – by sitting cross-legged on the stage and using a red plastic cup as percussion by banging it on the floor. As expected of every Miss America pageant, this one too was widely discussed on social media. Reactions to Kazantsev’s performance were mixed, and many people were not too impressed by it. Kira admitted that her performance was inspired by the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect which famously shows Anna Kendrick’s character auditioning using a cup.

When asked about her peculiar performance in the talent round, Kazantsev told ABC News that she wanted to inspire girls.

“The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life. I literally in that minute and 30 seconds had the most fun I’ve ever had, and that’s because I stayed true to myself and I did what I wanted to do for my talent, no matter what everybody else told me, and it paid off. I’m very happy about it.”

It was not just her talent performance that impressed the judges at Miss America 2015; she won a $50,000 scholarship after she named combating sexual assault in the military as the issue she would want female U.S. Senators to address with their male counterparts.

Miss America 2015 pageant

As her reign as the current Miss America starts, Kira is expected to travel a whopping 20,000 miles a month as part of her commitment towards the organizers.

According to Mashable, Kazantsev is a 23-year-old graduate of Hofstra University. As you might have guessed from her name, Kira’s parents are from Russia. Born on July 20, 1991 in Manhattan, she is a first-generation American. An aspiring lawyer, she recently joined Fordham University’s law school.

[Image Via YouTube]