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5 Things You Don’t Know About Miss America Nina Davuluri

For everyone that is shocked that there is a racist backlash against the current Miss America, Nina Davuluri, they must not watch Fox News, or the Daily Show With John Stewart” recap of Fox News on a regular basis. It’s pretty clear that, a subset of the American population thinks anyone who looks like they are from South Asia or the Middle East must be a terrorist. These people also think Obama is a secret Muslim. SAPNA took a stance not to cover that racist, islamaphobic backlash. In Davuluri’s own words, “…for one negative tweet, one negative post, comment, there were dozens of positive remarks and support.” she stated to Fox News.

This year Indian Americans celebrated their first Miss New York and first Miss America of Indian descent. So who is she?

1.) She didn’t always feel swimsuit ready

Davuluri before pageants | Photo Credit:Facebook, Radar Online

Radar Online found that Davuluri, 23, blogged on her trainer’s website about how she used to be 170 pounds at five-foot seven-inches tall. However, she quickly lost more than 60 pounds so she could compete in beauty pageants, thanks to the help of trainer Tia Falcone. Davuluri is very open about her personal battle with size. She shared with the Syracuse Post-Standard, in July. that she had a battle with bulimia, confiding, “people who’ve been overweight, especially women, feel like at a moment’s notice we can go back to where we were.”

2.) She’s a classically trained dancer, but still brought in America’s Bollywood choreographer, Nakul

She celebrated her unique American experience by doing a Bollywood dance, the first time in Miss America history. Even though she grew up taking classical dance lessons, as do many young Desi American girls, she still brought in the pros for her talent performance. Before the pageant, Davuluri flew to Los Angeles to train with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan. Which explains why her routine looked like Nakul’s most recent SYTYCD piece.

3.) She is friends with “mean girls”

After her Miss New York win, news broke that Davuluri called last year’s Miss America, Mallory Hagan, “fat as f—k” during a taped conversation. The New York Post reported from a source: “Davuluri invited friends back to her hotel room after her win. A girl in the next room overheard their conversation, and was so offended she decided to tape part of it. A friend of Davuluri was supposedly heard making racist remarks, and Davuluri is allegedly heard on the tape blasting Miss America, ‘Mallory’s fat as s- -t.’ The recording has been making the rounds of pageant contestants and officials.”

Following complaints to pageant organizers, Davuluri sent a message on Facebook to Hagan saying, “I want to apologize for the awful statements made by people in my room . . . There were people who claimed to be my supporters and said things I never agreed with, nor supported . . . I was never a part of the words or statements that may have been hurtful . . . I’m sorry if someone said something that was inappropriate.”

4.) When it comes to education, she’s hella Indian

Davuluri with family | Photo Credit: Nina Davuluri

Coming from a family of doctors (her older sister, Meena, is a third-year medical student and her father works as an obstetrician/gynecologist in New York), going to medical school was expected and in her words, “the easy path”. Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, earning Dean’s List, Michigan Merit Award, and National Honor Society Award honors along the way.  She plans to apply to medical school with help from the $50,000 scholarship she won, and is debating between psychiatry and cardiology. She is a self proclaimed nerd, admitting she loves Star Wars.

5. She wants to stand up against India’s fair skinned color complex (and stick it to the Miss India pageant)

Pond’s Miss India 2013 | Photo Credit: IBTimes

Recently on her facebook page, she shared an article highlighting the fact that she has a darker complexion than the last 10 Miss India winners. In firstpost.com, Lakshmi Chaudhry  makes the point that our Miss America is “too Indian” to stand a chance of being Miss India.

— NATASHA KHAN

492 thoughts on “5 Things You Don’t Know About Miss America Nina Davuluri

  1. I’m sorry but I take issue with #4…why are the sciences, particularly the medical sciences, stereotyped and painted as “Indian?” I am 100% Indian and I happen to have chosen arts as my profession and humanities as my academic training. I really do resent this notion of science being somehow the quintessentially Indian pursuit when come on, Indian culture is also producing the best artistic minds and classical Indian scholarship has had a long love affair with arts and humanities dating back to antiquity. Would kindly request South Asian interest media to not promote this stereotype of science somehow being more Indian than the arts. We Indians who pursue arts get enough headache, judgment, and lack of respect from our families and communities that it is getting to become an EXTREMELY stifling and crippling atmosphere. I say arts and humanities is also hella Indian, lol! Other than that, major win to Nina for her other noble successes, namely body awareness, the truth about cultural and ethnic diversity in the United States, and India’s unfortunate fair skin obsession.

  2. Rashmi — I think you are missing the point. #4 is speaking to the stereotype. I dont think anyone at SAPNA is saying that pursuing science is the only choice for Indians, they do after all dedicate their time to a fashion magazine.

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