Miss America 2014 Resembles the Country's Melting Pot Culture

Indian-American woman crowned Miss America, reflects changing makeup of the country

Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs a Bollywood dance in the talent portion, left, and the bathing suit portion on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, at the 2014 Miss America competition in Atlantic City, N.J.

Miss New York, Nina Davuluri performs a Bollywood dance in the talent portion, left, and the bathing suit portion on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, at the 2014 Miss America competition.

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The Miss America contest has begun to resemble the true melting pot of culture and race that is America.

Long are the days of the conventional blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty queens. On Sunday night, the Miss America contest crowned the first IndianAmerican woman. Nina Davulurientered the pageant as Miss New York and left as Miss America.

Davuluri, practically predicted the win during the pageant as she responded to a question about what it would mean for the pageant if she was crowned Miss America.

"Miss America is evolving. And she's not going to look the same anymore," Davuluri said.

[READ: New Miss America To Be Crowned Sunday Night]

Many see this achievement as a symbol of America's diversity and willingness to accept all races and cultures as its own.

"I grew up in the States, and I would never have thought of an Indian Miss America," Lakshmi Gandhi, editor of the Indian-American blog TheAerogram.com, told AP . "That's why people are so excited, they've never seen this before," she said.

According to Gandhi, Davuluri's beauty may not have been accepted in an Indian beauty pageant. Davuluri's skin tone is darker than most Indian stars and models that embody the ideal of Indian beauty. Some believed that Davuluri's darker skin tone would also prevent her from winning the quintessential American beauty pageant, where even lighter skin has been the norm.

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Miss America is an ambassador for the nation and so to allow an Indian woman to carry that role "that really resonates," said English professor Amardeep Dingh of Lehigh University.

That did not stop people from tweeting their thoughts, some of which displayed a less charitable view of the change.

Vandana Kumar, publisher of India Currents magazine, embraced the backlash by telling AP "When people of different races break barriers, we get some scrutiny, some pushback." She said that the pushback is a sign of the barriers being broken.

"She proved that the best woman wins," Kumar said of Davuluri's crowning, revealing that the "American Dream" isn't just a dream, but a reality.

 

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