Kára McCullough, a 25-year-old nuclear chemist who works for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been crowned Miss USA 2017.
However, her victory wasn’t without controversy.
McCullough, an African-American woman from Washington, DC, told the audience that she doesn’t view herself as a feminist and said she believes that health care is a privilege and not a right.
The pageant, which features contestants from each of the 50 states, as well as Washington D.C., wrapped up on Sunday night during a two-hour finale at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the Las Vegas strip. McCullough will now go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
The finalists included Miss Minnesota, Miss District of Columbia, and Miss New Jersey. The runner-up was Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, a student at Rutgers University studying marketing and Spanish. The second runner-up was Miss Minnesota Meridith Gould, who is studying apparel retail merchandising at the University of Minnesota.
McCullough, the 65th crowned Miss USA, graduated from South Carolina State University with a degree in chemistry and a concentration in radiochemistry. This marks the second year that Miss Washington DC has won the Miss USA title. Last year, Deshauna Barber, a former Miss DC, became the first-ever military member to win Miss USA.