Miss America Pageant: Now Representing & Celebrating Diversity. Get Used To It!

Miss USA Nina Devuluri

We all love a good stereotype-breaking story when it comes to Beauty Pageants, and we certainly have seen a few lately!

Over the weekend the latest installment of Miss America screened across the United States and other parts of the world, and we witnessed 24 year old Indian-American and New York native Nina Davuluri be crowned chief peace keeper for the next year. It was the first time someone of her ethnicity became the winner of this event, but it came with a whole slew of racism from her fellow Americans.

To see people tweeting about Nina labeling her a “terrorist”, an “Arab” and even going as far to say she had ties to Al-Qaeda is both disgusting and pathetic. It is actually embarrassing to follow the logic of these ignorant people who actually think an extreme terrorist group would want a beauty pageant winner interested in WORLD PEACE as part of their team. Good one guys!

It showed that unfortunately racism is still well and alive in America, but it hides behind a cowardly keyboard. No matter, Nina was so caught up in her monumental win it was pretty easy for her to brush it off and celebrate her win for Indians, and hard working women everywhere.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said after her win. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

As for the negativity, she said: “I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Something important you should know about Nina is that she battled Bulimia in her younger years but has now overcome it to adopt a healthy attitude toward life and food. Today, she hates the word “skinny” and and refuses to reveal her weight, as she is all too aware of the damage beauty pageants can do to young girls’ self esteem and body image. She would much rather girls follow her as a role model and copy her example in education, and healthy decisions, rather than trying to look like her. Amazing!

Oh and just so you know, this year’s runner up was Miss California Chinese-American Crystal Lee who has a degree from Stanford University. Together with Nina, who is an aspiring doctor (her family which is spread across India and America have numerous doctors among them) are now indicative of the more diverse melting pot of young, hard-working American women who can now have a reason to watch Miss USA with added interest.

Crystal-Lee-Miss-California-2013

The other contestant making headlines leading up to Sunday’s event was Miss Kansas contestant Theresa Vail . She is vastly different from most girls you see in this pageant, although you wouldn’t think when you first look at this buxom blonde. But don’t be fooled, she is one badass chick!

She is a Sergeant in the US Army, and only the second Miss America contestant ever to be on active duty. That’s right, active. The other cool thing about Theresa, is that she is not afraid to proudly display her tattoos on the stage, saying it is part of who she is.

“My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink. How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can’t do the same?” she told People Magazine.

She has two very visible tatto0s: the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder and the Serenity Prayer running down her right side. These were on full display when donned her bikini for that portion of the contest.

teresa vail reuters

Theresa Vail

In true Katniss Everdeen style, Theresa entered her first beauty pageant nine months ago after her commanding officer thought she would make a great role model. Her plan was to demonstrate her archery skills in the talent section of the show. Oh yeah, did we mention she is an expert M16 marksman, a bow hunter, a mechanic, a motorcycle racer, and she can skin a deer? No biggie!

“Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen, but I’m all about breaking stereotypes,” she said.

The reason she is passionate about empowering women through her love of sports is because it was what helped her during tough times growing up.

“I was bullied when I was a kid. It got so bad that I nearly took my own life … My dad took me hunting with him and it saved my life. Ever since then, I’ve been an outdoors girl,” she said.

Her message to young girls watching her is that beauty comes from the inside and not to idolize beauty pageant queens thinking they have a perfect life.

“I want to help them develop confidence, to let them know that they have what it takes to accomplish anything they want to accomplish,” she said.

Theresa won the “America’s Choice” vote which was decided by viewers online, and allowed her to advance to the semi-finals, but no further.

Theresa Vail, Nina Devuluri and Miss America totally kicking ass in life and celebrating diversity finally!

theresa-vail-1-600

11 Comments

  1. First of all, that is horrible to say about Indians. Last time I checked, Native Americans were American first. I’m truly disgusted by that.

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  5. great article, but just one correction, it was the miss america pageant….miss usa is a totally different organization and program….:)

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