ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Nina Davuluri became the first contestant of Indian heritage and the second consecutive contestant from New York to win the Miss America pageant Sunday night.
Davuluri, 24, won the title as the nationally televised pageant returned home to Atlantic City.
She succeeds another Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, whose tenure was cut short when the pageant moved back to Atlantic City after a six-year stint in Las Vegas, where winners were chosen in January.
“This is where we belong,” Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization, told The Associated Press about Atlantic City.
Davuluri performed a classical Bollywood fusion dance for her talent competition.
After the traditional frolic in the Atlantic City surf Monday morning, she will head to the scene of a boardwalk fire in the New Jersey communities of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.
Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold, of Tulsa, was named second runner-up. She is a theater major at Oklahoma City University.
Griswold sang “Everybody Says Don't” in the talent portion of the pageant.
In the question-and-answer portion, Griswold was asked about Miley Cyrus. She answered, “I'm going to be honest. I don't think her performance was twerking for me. Get it? It was not super tasteful, but ... I have to respect her creativity.”
The pageant had pitted 53 contestants — one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.