parry ernsberger
September 18, 2013 8:00 am

On Sunday night, for the first time since its inception in 1921, the Miss America pageant crowned an Indian-American woman the winner. (Fun fact: The pageant was initially created as a way to extend the Atlantic City, N.J. tourism season for an extra weekend.) 24-year-old Nina Davuluri, a Syracuse, NY native with dreams of being a doctor, seemed to serendipitously predict her win during the competition:

(Side note: She’s also the second consecutive Miss New York to win. HOLLER!) Over the course of the renowned beauty pageant’s history, there have been seven black Miss America’s (starting with Vanessa Williams in 1983), but the rest have all been caucasian. And in addition to Davuluri’s win, this year’s runner-up, Miss California Crystal Lee, is Chinese-American.

Amardeep Singh, an Indian professor of English, said the fact that Divuluri considered herself a contender in the first place spoke to the massive cultural significance of her win.

Davuluri, whose platform was “celebrating diversity through cultural competency” and wowed the judges with her Bollywood dance performance, will be using the $50,000 scholarship she won as a part of the pageant title to apply to medical school. Pretty AND smart AND Indian-American? You’ve come a long way, Miss America. The times they are a-changin’!

Featured image via NPR

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