New York takes Miss America crown

LIHUE — The crown won’t make its way to Hawaii, rather it will stay in New York.

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was named the new Miss America, marking the third year in a row that a contestant from her state has walked away with the crown in the nationally televised pageant.

Kazantsev received the crown Sunday night at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall from outgoing Miss America — and Miss New York — Nina Davuluri.

Miss Hawaii, Kauai native Stephanie Steuri, fell short in her attempt to bring the title to the islands after she was knocked out before the semifinals in Atlantic City. Her elimination meant she did not take the stage for the primetime event. Only 16 of 53 contestants made it through to the televised rounds of the pageant.

Prior to the event, each contestant posted a 1-minute video aimed at convincing viewers to vote for them.

“How’s it, America?” Steuri said at start the self-shot clip, throwing a shaka in the air and standing atop a Kauai hillside overlooking the ocean. “I am Stephanie Steuri, Miss Hawaii and this is my beautiful home.”

Why should America vote for her, Steuri asked viewers.

“Because I’m new, fresh, relatable and passionate about inspiring others,” she said. “As a biology major and aspiring doctor of veterinary medicine, I totally understand that negative stereotype that us nerds are associated with.”

However, that, she said, is last year.

“My platform, growing stronger STEMs across the nation, aims to inspire our youth to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and draw them in to become a nerd,” said Steuri, the daughter of Christoph and Charlene Steuri of Kalaheo and who graduated from Island School.

Unfortunately, she did not advance.

In her show for the crown, Kazantsev sang Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” while sitting cross-legged on the stage and banging a red plastic cup on the floor. She named combating sexual assault in the military as the issue she would want female U.S. Senators to press their male counterparts to take on.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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