Nina Davuluri became the first Indian-American to win the Miss America pageant Sunday night.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” the 24-year-old Miss New York said during her first press conference in Atlantic City. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
Davuluri’s pageant platform was “celebrating diversity through cultural competency.”
However, the Syracuse native’s win led to some negative comments on Twitter.
“And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic,” one user wrote.
“How the f**k does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots,” another wrote.
“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America,” said another user.
But Nina Davuluri didn’t let the racist comments bother her.
“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Davuluri is the second consecutive Miss New York to become Miss America. She succeeds Mallory Hagan, who was selected in January. The Miss America Organization will compensate Hagan for her shortened reign, according to The Associated Press.
Miss California Crystal Lee was the first runner-up Sunday night. The other top five finalists include Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh, Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones, and Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold.
Miss Kansas Theresa Vail received a lot of attention leading up to the pageant. The Army sergeant is believed to be the first contestant to openly display tattoos. Vail has the Serenity Prayer on her rib cage and a military insignia on the back of one of her shoulders.
“My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink,” Vail wrote in a May 25 post on her personal blog. “How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can’t do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all.”
Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri will begin her duties Monday, when she will visit the scene of last Thursday’s fire that ravaged the Seaside Heights boardwalk.