Miss America crowns first Indian American winner, Nina Davuluri
Why we love her: She was the first Aussie model to be offered a contract with Victoria’s Secret, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Plus, she got naked to protect the cuddly Koala — who wouldn’t respect that? ()
Why we love her: “Bend It Like Beckham.” “Pirates of the Caribbean.” “Love Actually.” “Atonement.” “The Duchess.” Is there any role Keira can’t play? (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: She’s unafraid of fashion risks, she seems nearly unflappable, and... well, she looks like Sienna Miller! (ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ / AFP/Getty Images)
Why we love her: It takes guts to leap into the wrestling ring — and then leap onto the dance floor of “Dancing with the Stars.” Plus, there are her nicknames: “The legs of the WWE” and “The Weapon of Mass Seduction” (Michael Buckner / Getty Images for ELLE)
Why we love her: Klum has been stalking the catwalk since 1992, but she’s hardly just a pretty face (and smokin’ bod). She won a Peabody award for Project Runway, for which she is host and executive producer. That’s the first Peabody award to a reality show. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: Have you seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona? How about all her roles in Pedro Almodóvar’s films? How can you not love a woman with that sort of talent? (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: She’s been in a comics-based action flick (“Watchmen”), a comedy (“Couples Retreat”) and a rom-com (“The Proposal”). (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: Yes, she’s cute as a button. Yes, she’s super talented. But we really love her the most because 1) she’s the voice of Meg in “Family Guy,” and Family guy equals instant adoration, and 2) she’s admitted she’s a huge fan of “World of Warcraft.” (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: She knows all things fierce. She’s tapped into every form of entertainment there is, from acting (“Higher Learning” and “Love & Basketball”), charity work (TZONE Foundation) to singing and modeling. (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images)
Why we love her: The leggy beauty was the first Israeli model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, and she’s been on covers ever since. (Jacopo Raule / Getty Images for Michael Kors)
Why we love her: Her Oscar-winning performance in “Monster” was called “one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema” by critic Roger Ebert. Plus she’s passionately committed to helping the people of her native South Africa -- her foundation provides health services for some of the poorest regions of the country. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: Her music alone would be enough to make us happy. Add in her tireless work for children’s welfare and education and we’re smitten. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: As much as she loves kids, we should love her for that alone. She’s the right-hand woman of actor Brad Pitt, but she is a business woman and philanthropist all her own. Outside of acting, her charity work includes UNICEF, ONE Campaign and UNHCR. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: Not only is her music unstoppable, but her spirit is unquenchable: In the aftermath of an assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown, she weathered the media firestorm with poise and grace. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: Ever since “Dark Angel,” she’s known how to kick ass and take names. Plus she’s committed to her charity work, even offering to work for free if producer Bob Weinstein would make a hefty donation to Amfar. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)
Why we love her: She’s not only gorgeous, but she’s funny as hell (did you catch her on 30 Rock?), passionate about improving lives (she’s an anti-domestic violence advocate), and smart as a whip. Who wouldn’t love her? (Patrick T. Fallon / For the Times)
Why we love her: This quote from The Times of London, when the reporter asked her if she considered herself a role model: “It depends on what your idea of a role model is. If your idea of a role model is somebody who’s gonna preach to your kids that sex before marriage is wrong and cursing is wrong and women should be this and be that, then I’m not a role model. But if you want your girls to feel strong and intelligent and be outspoken and fight for what they think is right, then I want to be that type of role model, yeah.” (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: She’s one of the hottest Victoria’s Secret angels... and so much more! She’s deeply committed to her Catholic faith, often bringing a bible to read backstage at fashion shows. (Alo Ceballos / GC Images)
Why we love her: She’s a star who doesn’t starve herself, doesn’t advertise her personal business, and stays out of the tabloids. Plus, she’s about to kick Iron Man’s butt as the Black Widow! (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Why we love her: So many reasons, but mostly because “Single Ladies” is a song we’re almost glad will be stuck in our heads for the rest of our lives. She’s also no stranger to charity work, with Survivor Foundation being the most well-known for her contribution to Hurricane Katrina victims. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Miss America 2014 was crowned Sunday night in Atlantic City, N.J.: She’s Nina Davuluri, the first Indian American to take the crown.
It was the second year in a row that a young woman from New York was named Miss America.
Davuluri, 24, competed in outfits including an animal-print bikini (pardon us, swimsuit) and a bright yellow evening gown that she described as “the more sexy version” of Belle’s dress in “Beauty and the Beast.” In the talent portion of the evening, she delivered a Bollywood-style dance.
The “interviews” of the top five finalists -- one question each -- gave rise to varied responses, as the questions were all over the map. Judge Mario Cantone of “Sex and the City” fame asked Miss Oklahoma what she thought of Miley Cyrus’ recent twerk-filled VMAs performance, and judge Lance Bass of N*SYNC asked Miss Minnesota whether political candidates were carrying “Stand By Your Man” too far by supporting their spouses.
Violinist Joshua Bell asked Miss California if it was the United States’ responsibility to punish Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people; TV chef Carla Hall quizzed Miss New York about what message was sent by Julie Chen’s revelation she’d had plastic surgery to look less Asian, to advance her career; and Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs Gunn asked Miss Florida about what the country should do about minorities having disproportionately low income and disproportionately high rates of unemployment and incarceration.
Miss Florida’s answer was actually cut off for time; personally, we’d rather have had the question about twerking.
Unfortunately, Davuluri’s win was not celebrated by all, with some users of social media attacking her color, accusing her of not being an American and of being a Muslim (she is American; she is not a Muslim). The newly crowned queen told the Associated Press she would “rise above” such detractors.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she told the AP. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.
“I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
Nonetheless, the negative reaction drew comment from the Anti-Defamation League, which compared the situation to 1945, the year a Jewish woman first won the contest.
“It is deeply troubling that the crowning of the first woman of Indian descent to win the Miss America pageant -- an achievement to be celebrated -- has been greeted with a series of racist and hate-filled messages on Twitter and other social media. ... ,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s national director. “The reaction in some quarters to the crowning of Ms. Davuluri is a reminder of how much work remains to be done in this country to ensure that America remains no place for hate. ...”
“Ms. Davuluri’s platform of ‘celebrating diversity through cultural competency’ is a message that all Americans and people of good will should strive to emulate,” he said.
The top five finished as follows: fourth runner-up Rebecca Yeh (Minnesota), third runner-up Myrrhanda Jones: (Florida), second runner-up Kelsey Griswold (Oklahoma), first runner-up Crystal Lee (California) and of course Miss America, going to Davuluri. Each won a scholarship, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
Davuluri was headed Monday afternoon to New Jersey’s storm- and fire-stricken Seaside Park and Seaside Heights to support the reconstruction efforts, according to the AP.
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