Thomas Roberts   |  September 20, 2013

Miss America '14: I'm living the American Dream

Miss America 2014 winner, Nina Davuluri, is the first woman of Indian descent to be crowned Miss America. Davuluri, born in New York, faced criticism on social media sites that she wasn't American. Davuluri joins Richard Lui to discuss how she's fighting the backlash.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 30 years ago vanessa williams made the beauty pageant history by becoming the first african-american to win the title. now a new beauty queen is making history of her own. like vanessa williams , she is coming face to face with racism. on sunday nina davuluri became the first woman of indian descent to win the title. some said the new york native was not american. others accused her of having ties to terrorist groups. joining me now is miss america , nina davuluri. go blue, i know you're a michigan grad.

>> yes.

>> i know you've widely said let's not pay attention to those comments and you've been very unafraid of expressing your heritage, your asian descent , and another one of the runner-ups was also asian-american. how does that cut both ways for you as you've gone through our pageantry career.

>> when i went into this i had a vision for the miss america organization because the brand of miss america has always been known as the girl next door . but the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in america evolves. i've been promoting my platform, celebrating diversity through cultural competency for three years now. to finally have a larger microphone to speak about it has been a wonderful opportunity.

>> as part of that you reached out to vanessa williams . you sat down and got to speak with her.

>> i did.

>> what did you talk about, any advice you will carry forward?

>> it's so sad. well, first of all, it's ironic because she was a former miss syracuse, which was my local title. i was miss syracuse. we both went on to win miss new york and miss america . but she 30 years ago received a very similar response and it just goes to show that, yes, we've definitely evolved as a country but how much further we have to go. and so she did offer advice and she was so genuine and so -- you know, she was just so personable and offered me -- she was like call me any time you want. that was very helpful.

>> she remains inspirational to so many people, as you are too now. we talked about you going to michigan. you majored in brain science , i think. you want to become a cardiologist. you are an asian-american but are much more than that as well. talk about that.

>> i've always viewed myself as first and foremost american. of course i have by indian background and culture and heritage and i'm proud of it but i'm living the american dream right now because i definitely -- that's what i really want to encourage this year is that regardless of your race, your socioeconomic status, that anyone can not only become miss america but anything they want. and that's the ideals that this country was founded on.

>> and so you want to become a cardiologist and then what's next? these are not necessarily easy things to do.

>> i'm not sure if i'm going to become a cardiologist specifically.

>> not tomorrow?

>> not tomorrow.

>> we'll wait.

>> keeping the options open.

>> but during the contest, you brought awareness to bulimia. you talked about that in the past. you talked about how you lost a large amount of weight in a short amount of time. how is that going to be part of what you do going forward.

>> the health and life style has always been a part of miss america and losing weight was a challenge in myself but i'm more proud of maintaining the weight and keeping it off. i've learned how to stay balanced not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. so that's a message i'll be promoting as well.

>> your family must be so proud. miss america , nina davuluri. we will beat connecticut, uconn