Syracuse native, Nina Davaluri was crowned as the first Indian Miss New York this past weekend.
"Just to be on that stage and show everyone how hard I've worked to achieve this just meant the world to me," says Davaluri.
Davaluri embraced her culture, performing a bollywood dance as her talent.
"It's something I really struggled with because people told me Nina, you're never going to win with that talent. And I thought to myself they might be right because it is so different," says Davaluri.
It's something she's proud to perform on national television for the Miss America pageant in September, hoping to inspire other young girls to dream big.
"They don't have to fit that normal stereotype of a blond hair blue eyed girl and have a normal talent to become Miss New York," says Davaluri.
Nina also had to overcome another obstacle to become Miss New York. She lost 60 pounds in the last two years and did it all with the help of her sponsor and trainer Tia Falcone.
"I told Nina that if she showed me that she was serious and she was going to do what i told her that i would be her sponsor. And she completely surprised me and was very diligent," says Falcone.
Davaluri plans to use the $10,00010 she won in scholarship money to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor.
plan on attending medical school. I'm currently in the process of applying and it
s really expensive
," says Davaluri.
If she wins Miss America, that would be another $50,000 toward her tuition. Falcone says she has it in the bag.
"I've known in my heart that she was going to win Miss New York and I know she's going to win Miss America. I've always had a feeling about it," says Falcone.