But within minutes of winning the title, Davuluri, whose talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance, was the target of racist social media comments.
“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,” said one on Twitter.
Another wrote, “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?” and another added: “I am literarily soo mad right now a ARAB won”.
Some called her Miss Al-Qaeda and others dubbed her Miss Terrorist. “How the f***k does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab!” followed up @jakeamick5.
Davuluri, however, brushed aside the negative comments. “I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity,” 24-year-old Nina Davuluri said in her first press conference, moments after winning the crown in Atlantic City. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.” Her grandmother said that she cried when she saw the news on television.
“I am very, very, happy for the girl. It was her dream and it was fulfilled,” said 89-year-old V Koteshwaramma by phone from her home in the city of Vijaywada, in India.
Miss Kansas first to show tattoos on stage
Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, gained national attention as the first contestant to show her ‘ink’ on the stage. The 22-year-old isn't the typical beauty queen, with her love for bow hunting and her job as a National Guard Sergeant. When asked why she was bearing her tattoos, she wrote in her blog, “ Empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers.”