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Interview with Miss America - Nina Davuluri

Sunday, May 25, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Halfstack Magazine was recently given the opportunity to interview Nina Davuluri who currently holds the position of Miss America. Nina was at Macy’s on State Street for her ‘Next stop in a special’ tour hosted by Macy’s in honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

Sebastian Biedron for Macy's

During this interview we wanted to get to know Nina Davulri, and find out more about her. We were able to see how much your life changes once you take on such a big role. Living out of your suitcase, moving from state to state; constantly being on the move can be quite the journey. We were able to discuss the different challenges, and obstacles that you may come across.

Sebastian Biedron for Macy's

A lot of people have their own personal thoughts about women doing beauty pageants, Nina allowed us to see beyond just the ‘beauty’ part of it. Scholarship funds are involved, in fact, Nina graduated debt free from the University of Michigan because of this organization! Nina has now begun a campaign of her own, #CirclesOfUnity this is a unity which allows us all to tweet her with what we believe it means to be culturally aware. We can all help Nina elevate this topic by joining in. Halfstack caught up with Nina last week during her tour:

What made you start pageants?  Was this always a dream/goal of yours?
I started competing for scholarship money. The Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship provider for young women across the country. Through this organization I have earned close to $92,000 in scholarship monies to pay for my education.

What’s changed in your life since you won?
Quite a bit! It's not as glamorous of a lifestyle as people may think. The night I won, I was asked to repack my belongings into two suitcases; I have literally been living out of those suitcases since September. I travel on average 20,000 miles per month and don't have many days off. It's a full time job, but it's been an incredible year with so many amazing opportunities.

What’s your biggest challenge as Miss America?
Definitely living out of suitcases and hotel rooms! I'm usually in no place longer than 48 hours, so the schedule is hectic.

What social impact do you want to make during your time a Miss America?
I've really had the opportunity to bring my platform, "Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency", to the forefront. I've spoken to roughly 25 colleges and universities about my platform, and have been able to work with various groups and organizations. It's been incredible.

What fashion icon, past or present would you want to shop with/ raid their closet?
Audrey Hepburn! I just love her classic and timeless looks.

What advice would you give to other women looking to compete in pageants?
Be yourself. Don't try to change your views based on what you think the judges want to hear--stay true to who you are.

What do you have to say to those who think beauty pageants are degrading to women as they "only focus on beauty"?
While beauty is one aspect of competition, it isn't the ONLY aspect of competition. As I mentioned, I gained 92,000 in scholarship money. Because of this organization, I graduated debt-free from the University of Michigan, and now have $62,000 to put towards my graduate degree.

If you were not Miss America what would you be doing?
I would be in graduate school.

What’s next for you? What will you be doing once your term ends?
I'll be going to graduate school to pursue my MBA. I'm looking forward to starting my career!

Make sure to keep up with Nina on Twitter here and like her on Facebook  - You can also keep up with Macy’s on Facebook here
Halfstack Blogger

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