Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was named the new Miss America at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall Sunday night, Sept. 14.
The 23-year-old blond beauty received the crown from outgoing Miss America Nina Davuluri, and her win marks the third consecutive year that Miss New York has walked away with the title and a $50,000 scholarship, E! News reported.
For her talent performance, Kazantsev sang Pharrell Williams' hit song "Happy" while sitting cross-legged on the stage and performing the popular cups routine seen in the 2012 musical comedy film "Pitch Perfect."
"It's not your average Miss America talent in terms of singing Broadway tunes or opera. I'm sticking to what I can do," she told The New York Post before the big night.
In the question and answer portion, Judge Lee Meriwether brought up the fact that men dominate the United States Congress, and asked Kazantsev what causes she would want female senators to press their male counterparts. The newly crowned Miss American answered, "I really believe that sexual assault in our military is an issue these women have got to fight for...," according to USA Today.
Kazantsev, whose platform is "Love Shouldn't Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence", previously told The New York Post that she was even ready to address recent news about NFL player Ray Rice if prompted during the Q&A segment.
Kazantsev, who lives in Murray Hill and plans to attend Fordham Law, recently revealed that she experienced abuse in college when a former boyfriend of her stalked her and sent hateful text messages.
"We need to talk about the issue," said Kazantsev, who is currently volunteers with domestic-violence group Safe Horizon and delivers speeches about the pressing topic at shelters. "We need to make it something people aren't scared of. We need to stop asking, 'Why doesn't she just leave?' but instead have the courage and empathy to help women on their way," she said.
Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett was named the first runner-up; Miss Arkansas Ashton Jo Campbell, second runner up; Miss Florida Victoria Cowen, third runner up; and Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn, fourth runner up.
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