Your Next Miss USA: Kára McCullough

On Sunday night, after a week of preliminary competitions full of hair dos, interviews, rehearsals, and everything else that pageants entail, Kára McCullough from the District of Columbia was crowned Miss USA. McCullough was more than deserving of the crown, having a fascinating cultural background and earning a Bachelor of Science degree from South Carolina State University. She works as a scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and even works on the side to encourage scientific education for children through her program Science Exploration for Kids (SE4K).

Many people would say that competitors in these pageants are uneducated and only focused on their outer appearance, but the women broke down these pageant stereotypes with poise. Each delegate had a specific organization or cause that they were determined to work with as Miss USA such as raising awareness for cancer, children at risk, bullying, and more. Many of the competitors also came from impressive universities with majors that set them up for respectable occupations. The top five presented a scientist, a professional dancer, a marketing student who emigrated from India, a pediatric nurse, and a financial literacy advocate.

For the first time in twenty-eight years a state (or in this case, district) has won two years in a row. Last year, the Miss Universe Organization gave the title to Deshauna Barber, and she was given the honor of crowning McCullough after her final walk. Barber was the first active military woman to be named Miss USA, and she will continue to serve now that the honor was passed on. Once McCullough’s name was called, the two shared a special moment of smiles and hugs before she was given the crown.

While the swimsuit and evening gown walks are important, one of the most anticipated portions of the night is the final question that goes to the top three finalists. The questions are typically very hard to think of on the spot and have produced many viral videos of women giving a less than adequate answer, but this year’s question was a topic that many competitors already had thoughts on. The hosts asked the top three individually, “What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist?” Each contestant gave such a good answer that it was hard to tell who was in the lead. McCullough kept her answer individual to her by saying, “As a woman scientist in the government, I have liked to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism.” The other finalists also addressed the question eloquently and coordinated their responses with the causes they had supported throughout the competition.

Every woman who participated in the pageant broke the stereotypes of airheaded, privileged girls and proved that they are educated and powerful women who were very deserving of the crown. McCullough could not have done a better job at walking the runway and answering her questions, and she is sure to be a Miss USA to remember.

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