Miss D.C. Kara McCullough won the Miss USA pageant on Sunday night for the District of Columbia.


This is the second year in a row that a contestant competing on behalf of D.C. has taken home the crown. McCullough won her title at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

Hey pretty @missmdusa lol

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First runner-up was Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, a student at Rutgers. Second runner-up was Miss Minnesota Meridith Gould, also a student. Last year’s Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, was the first ever military member to win the Miss USA pageant.

McCullough is a 25-year-old chemist who works for the U.S. Nuclear Registry Commission. She was born in Naples, Italy, but raised in Virginia Beach. She wants to inspire children to go into the STEM fields, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

When asked during the competition for her opinion on if affordable health care in the US is a right or a privilege, she responded with the latter. “As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs,” she said, controversially. “Therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment so that we’re given the opportunities to have health care as well as jobs for all Americans worldwide.”

And later, when asked if she considers herself a feminist, McCullough said that she likes to “transpose” the word to “equalism.” She said she doesn’t “like to consider myself a diehard, you know, like I don’t care about men.”

Verg, on the other hand, gave a more comprehensive and correct definition of feminism, without having even heard Miss D.C.’s response. “It’s a misconception when people believe that feminism is women being better than men,” she explained. “It’s a fight for equality, and we need to realize that if we want a stable society for every single individual, we need to be equal.”

McCullough was one of six contestants this year to have immigrated to the U.S. in their youth, and now, as citizens, hoped to represent the nation. Verg, as well as the women representing Florida, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

Verg emigrated from India with her parents, who only had $500 to their name when she was 4-years-old. “I want to show Americans that the definition of what it means to be American is changing,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s not just one face. There are many different people who are Americans, and I feel like Asian-Americans often times are left out of the conversation.”

My favorite time of the day…DINNER! ?#missusa

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