Miss America Crowns First Winner of Indian Descent in Atlantic City

The Miss America pageant crowned its first winner of Indian Descent in Atlantic City last night in Nina Davuluri, 24, Miss New York, who said she’ll use her $50,000 scholarship win to attend medical school. Today, though, she parties at the beach—as, of course, is tradition.

Davuluri’s win wasn’t the only first for the pageant this year, which served as the first in Atlantic City in six years. They had everything from girls in leg braces to fully displayed ink:

Even before Davuluri’s win, it had been a pageant of firsts: The first time three Miss Americas were crowned in a single year, due to scheduling changes as the pageant moved back from Las Vegas. In another first, Miss California, Crystal Lee, was first runner up, marking the first time two women of Asian descent topped the Miss America field.

And Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, became the first contestant to openly flaunt tattoos rather than cover them up during the competition. Vail, an Army National Guard sargeant, only took up pageants in the last year, but rocketed to fame and won the America’s Choice fan voting. She made it through the Top 12 before being eliminated.

Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, spent the evening in flat shoes and a bedazzled leg brace, owing to a ligament injury suffered during rehearsals. Jones proved a favorite with the Boardwalk Hall crowd, which booed and jeered when she was cut off for talking too long in the question-and-answer session.

You know those rowdy A.C. crowds, though:

The crowd, with many women in gowns and men in evening suits and ready to celebrate, may have also been to blame for an awkward moment when Davuluri didn’t hear hostess Lara Spencer announcing her and had to be beckoned three times to the stage for her dance performance.

Don’t make it awkward, A.C. Do you want to scare off Miss America? Just play it cool, and she’ll come back. [Newsworks]