St. Joseph native crowned Miss America 2014Published 11:17am Monday, September 16, 2013
Southwest Michiganders are full of pride after St. Joseph, Mich. native Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014 Sunday night.
Davuluri, who competed in Miss America 2014 as Miss New York, actually got her start in pageantry in the southwest Michigan area.
St. Joseph Public Schools posted social media messages boasting their connection to the new Miss America:
— St. Joseph Schools (@sjschools) September 16, 2013
Davuluri was the first to be crowned Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen in 2006 after winning her local pageant, Miss Shoreline Outstanding Teen. Before Miss Shoreline, Davulari was also Miss Southwest Michigan Outstanding Teen.
Sabrina Lasota, an executive director for the current Southwest Michigan pageant, was not involved in the program when Davuluri won Miss Southwest Michigan Outstanding Teen, but she confirms her involvement.
Lasota said although the program is fairly new (adopted within the last ten years or so), the Miss America Outstanding Teen program is a great start for girls interested in the Miss America program.
“I think that the girls get a great experience that precedes the Miss level of competition,” said Lasota. “The older girls are wonderful role models. They mentor the younger girls and the Miss girls have a great opportunity to support younger women. It’s a great give and take.”
Lasota was humble about Davuluri’s involvement in the Miss Southwest Michigan program.
“I think that the local pageants across the country for all of the organizations teach girls to be confident and true to themselves. The Southwest Michigan program doesn’t fall far from that,” she said.
During Sunday’s Miss America finale, Davuluri prided herself in being the first Indian-American to participate in the Miss America pageant, and showed her heritage by performing a Bollywood fusion dance.
Davuluri, now a resident of Syracuse, New York, experienced two or three awkward moments on the stage when she was unable to hear her name being called into the next rounds (her name was called four times for the talent portion before she finally realized it was her turn to perform), but she recovered with a genuine smile and apology.
Davuluri sported a “simple” yellow dress, contrasting from the white and purple that were popular in this year’s competition. In a pre-recorded video clip, she said she fancied her dress to be the grown-up version of Belle’s from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Davuluri was the second consecutive Miss New York to be crowned Miss America, following Mallory Hagen in 2014, and the first woman of Indian decent to be crowned Miss America.