Miss America Nina Davuluri says she’ll ‘rise above’ hate-filled,

National

Miss America Nina Davuluri says she’ll ‘rise above’ hate-filled, racist Twitter comments

Posted: Updated:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The selection of a women of Indian heritage as the new Miss America has ignited a storm of controversy after hate-filled, racist messages were posted on Twitter.

Moments after winning the 2014 crown, Nina Davuluri described how delighted she is that the nearly century-old pageant sees beauty and talent of all kinds.

"I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity," she said in her first press conference after winning the crown in Atlantic City, New Jersey's Boardwalk Hall. "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."

But the 24-year-old was forced to dive headfirst into the challenges of becoming the first American of Indian heritage to win the pageant after social media users voiced their displeasure.

"I have to rise above that," said Davuluri. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

Many of the tweets — and apparently whole Twitter accounts in some instances — have been deleted after various media outlets, including Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail, posted scathing compilations of offensive comments about Davuluri.

The native of Syracuse, New York was attacked by Twitter posters for not being "American" and called a "terrorist."

She is is the second Asian-American winner, after Angela Perez-Baraquio, who is of Filipino descent, and won in 2001.

Davuluri's pageant platform was "celebrating diversity through cultural competency." Her talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance.

Davuluri wants to be a doctor, and is applying to medical school, with the help of a US$50,000 scholarship she won as part of the pageant title.

Her grandmother told The Associated Press that she cried when she saw the news on television.

I am very, very, happy for the girl. It was her dream and it was fulfilled," 89-year-old V. Koteshwaramma said by phone from her home in the city of Vijaywada, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

She said there are numerous doctors in the family, both in the U.S. and India, and that if her granddaughter wants to become one "I am sure she will do it."

Davuluri had planned to go to the scene of a devastating boardwalk fire in the New Jersey communities of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights Monday afternoon. But pageant officials cancelled that visit after learning that Gov. Chris Christie was making cabinet officials available at that same time to business owners victimized by the fire.

Davuluri will visit at an unscheduled future date, pageant officials said early Monday.

She will still make the traditional frolic in the Atlantic City surf Monday morning.

Her first runner-up was Miss California, Crystal Lee. Other top 5 finalists included Miss Minnesota, Rebecca Yeh; Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, and Miss Oklahoma, Kelsey Griswold.

In the run-up to the pageant, much attention was given to Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, the Army sergeant who was believed to have been the first Miss America contestant to openly display tattoos. She has the Serenity Prayer on her rib cage, and a smaller military insignia on the back of one shoulder.

Vail won a nationwide "America's Choice" vote to advance as a semi-finalist, but failed to make it into the Top 10.

In a Twitter message Sunday before the finals began, Vail wrote: "Win or not tonight, I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have empowered women. I have opened eyes."

Jones made it into the top 5 wearing a bedazzled knee brace. She tore knee ligaments Thursday while rehearsing her baton-twirling routine, which she executed flawlessly Sunday night.

The pageant had pitted 53 contestants — one from each state, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields


    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Arizona, NH to get federal education funding

    Arizona, NH to get federal education funding

    Efforts to turn around Arizona's persistently low-performing schools will be getting a $10 million boost from the federal government.More >>
    Efforts to turn around Arizona's persistently low-performing schools will be getting a $10 million boost from the federal government.More >>
  • Minnesota man kills intruders; admits he was waiting for them.

    Minnesota man kills intruders; admits he was waiting for them.

    LITTLE FALLS, Minn. -Jurors heard an audio recording Tuesday of the moments when two teenagers were fatally shot by a Minnesota homeowner who says he feared for his life after several previous break-ins. Byron Smith, 65, of Little Falls, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder inthe slayings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kiferon Thanksgiving Day 2012. The shooting stunned the small city and stirred debate about how far people can go in defending their homes. Smith t...More >>
    LITTLE FALLS, Minn. -Jurors heard an audio recording Tuesday of the moments when two teenagers were fatally shot by a Minnesota homeowner who says he feared for his life after several previous break-ins. Byron Smith, 65, of Little Falls, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder inthe slayings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kiferon Thanksgiving Day 2012. The shooting stunned the small city and stirred debate about how far people can go in defending their homes. Smith t...More >>
  • National

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits willMore >>
    Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.More >>
  • Ventura County tree removal sparks outrage

    Ventura County tree removal sparks outrage

    Thousand Oaks officials say they will review city planning procedures after hearing from residents who are outraged over the removal of a slew of trees at a shopping center.More >>
    Thousand Oaks officials say they will review city planning procedures after hearing from residents who are outraged over the removal of a slew of trees at a shopping center.More >>
  • House strips school voucher bill

    House strips school voucher bill

    The Arizona House has given initial approval to a bill that would help expedite the approval process for parents of some students in the state school voucher program.More >>
    The Arizona House has given initial approval to a bill that would help expedite the approval process for parents of some students in the state school voucher program.More >>
  • California Condor Chick Makes 3 This Season

    California Condor Chick Makes 3 This Season

    GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ – The California condor population has another chick to count among its very small, but growing numbers. Peregrine Fund biologists confirm seeing one in a nest caveMore >>
       GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ – The California condor population has another chick to count among its very small, but growing numbers. That brings the number of wild condor chicks produced by the Arizona-Utah flock this season to three.More >>
  • Yuma

    Police offer advice for people in a robbery situation

    Police offer advice for people in a robbery situation

    YUMA, AZ (13 On Your Side) - Over the past month there have been a string of convenience store robberies around town. Most recently, one suspect - who police say - robbed three Circle Ks within 48 hours.More >>
    Over the past month there have been a string of convenience store robberies around town.More >>
  • DEA wants you to dispose of unused medications

    DEA wants you to dispose of unused medications

    The Yuma Police Department has teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency in an effort to dispose of your unused prescriptions. The DEA is accepting all expired and unused medications which will in turn be placed in and incinerator and destroyed; along with the drugs any labels will also be destroyed. The event is this Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Yuma Police Department parking lot off of 16th Street and 1st Avenue. There's no cost to drop off your medications, all they ask is th...More >>
    The Yuma Police Department has teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency in an effort to dispose of your unused prescriptions. The DEA is accepting all expired and unused medications which will in turn be placed in and incinerator and destroyed; along with the drugs any labels will also be destroyed. The event is this Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Yuma Police Department parking lot off of 16th Street and 1st Avenue. There's no cost to drop off your medications, all they ask is th...More >>

KSWT Facebook Feeds