Who’s that Girl Next Door?

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It’s been a crazy week of love and hatred towards Nina Davuluri. For those of you who are not aware of Nina Davuluri, she is the first Indian-American to be crowned holding the title of Miss America on September 15, 2013. As a former New Yorker I am so proud of her! It’s just amazing to know that in today’s world a normal Asian descent can be an important icon in America. However, people ignored the fact that she was born in Syracuse, New York. They ignored the fact that she was an average high school student just like every other American who was an athlete, a cheerleader, member of the band and a top A student. The one thing everyone focused on was that she was an “Indian-American”.  Davuluri has held a mirror to us and the outcome showed America’s true colors. It disgusts me to see that people still have their mind’s set in the early 1900’s. But I am so proud of Davuluri for not letting the nasty tweets and comments let her from shining.

Nina Davuluri comes from a Telugu family. For a girl like her it’s great to know that she still had time to learn our traditional cultural dances, Bharathanatyam. Bharathanatyam isn’t something a lot of people know about. Growing up, instead of taking ballet and tap lessons I took Bharathanatyam lessons and when I would share my talents with my friends they never quite seemed to understand the true aspects of it. I’m glad Davuluri has put our culture out there by sharing the traditional aspects. For her routine she performed a classical Indian-Bollywood fusion dance showing off her wonderful skills. Davuluri had her own struggles she was fighting, “I experienced so many misconceptions growing up,” she said. She was bulimic during her college years. From weighing 170 pounds she now went down to 117 pounds. It amazes me how she wasn’t afraid to admit that she had a problem. She says that it’s all about a healthy diet and exercise.

Davuluri grew up thinking that she would never be able to fit the model requirements that she would look up to especially being the daughter of immigrants. That’s not how she wanted to portray herself, but it all mattered about race. She wanted it to change and be able to stand up there and set an example for every other American that anything is possible. Ever since she first competed for the title of Miss New York, her platform became to be well known as “Diversity through Cultural Sensitivity.”

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