Nina Davuluri makes history as the first Indian-American Miss America

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Miss California Crystal Lee (far left) and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hogan (far right) congratulate Nina Davuluri (center) on her win

Miss California Crystal Lee (far left) and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hogan (far right) congratulate Nina Davuluri (center) on her win

For the first time in nine years, the Miss America pageant returned to its hometown of Atlantic City last night to crown its next winner.  Miss New York Nina Davuluri of Syracuse was crowned Miss America 2014, making history as the first woman of Indian descent to win the Miss America pageant.

Nina Davuluri competed against 52 other women representing the other 49 states as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Photo Credit: Mel Evans, AP

Photo Credit: Mel Evans, AP

How did the student from Syracuse win the judges over? She opened with a joke referencing “Carlos Danger” in her introduction statement and went on to impress the judges during the swimsuit competition wearing a zebra print bikini with an abundance of confidence.  During the talent portion,  Nina stood out amongst her competitors with a precise and lively Bollywood performance, while most of the other contestants, including Miss Texas Ivana Hall and Miss Kansas Theresa Vail, chose to sing.

Nina Davuluri honors her Indian heritage during the talent competition Photo Credit: Mel Evans, AP

Nina Davuluri honors her Indian heritage during the talent competition
Photo Credit: Mel Evans, AP

For eveningwear, Nina donned a sexy yellow gown inspired by her favorite Disney character “Belle” of Beauty and the Beast. When it boiled down to the final question, Nina was asked about her thoughts on TV Anchor/Host Julie Chen revealing her decision to undergo cosmetic surgery at 25 to advance her career. Ironically, the South-Asian beauty managed to communicate that she hoped the nation would work on embracing the beauty in diversity. Though she stumbled just a bit on her answer, Nina performance throughout the night helped her edge out fellow Asian-American Crystal Lee of California for the top spot.

Nina Davuluri Miss America 2014 Miss New York 2013

Nina Davuluri
Miss America 2014
Miss New York 2013

Originally hailing from  St. Joseph, Michigan, Nina Davuluri’s past beauty pageant wins include Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Michigan in 2006. Miss Michigan Haley Williams, is also a past Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Michigan winner in 2009.

Miss America 2013 Mallory Hogan of Brooklyn crowns fellow New Yorker Nina Davuluri of Syracuse

Miss America 2013 Mallory Hogan of Brooklyn crowns fellow New Yorker Nina Davuluri of Syracuse

Following Mallory Hogan’s 2013 win, this is the second consecutive year that Miss New York has won the title. As Miss America, Nina not only takes home a crown, but a $50,000 scholarship.

Esta Fiesta is a Brooklyn based blogger with a love of music and finding new shoes. When she's not watching a movie or testing out new hair products she can be found doing Pilates - but only so she can eat from the waffle truck of course! Follow her Tweets at @ItsEstaFiesta