NEW YORK – Many girls dream of becoming Miss America but only a lucky few actually win the sparkly crown. Miss New York – Kira Kazantsev – beat out the competition in part by singing Pharell’s “Happy” using a red cup as her sole accompaniment. Kazantsev joined us in the FOX411 studio to discuss her online red cup haters, domestic violence (her Miss America platform), and Miss Nebraska's wardrobe snafu.
FOX411: You’re the third Miss New York to win Miss America. What’s in the water up there?
Kira Kazantsev: Growing up or working in Manhattan gives you a certain grit. It gives you that fighting edge. Growing up in the city is great training to be Miss America.
FOX411: The crowd loved your red cup talent – but some people on Twitter weren’t so impressed. What do you have to say to them?
Kazantsev: I expected that. I went into it fully knowing that people would either love it or hate it, and those that have hated, that’s fine. They’re entitled to their opinions but I did it to show that side of my personality. It doubles as a way for me to go into a Children’s Miracle Network hospital, sit down on the ground with some kids and play the cup. You know what if that puts a smile on their face then I will do that talent a thousand times over.
FOX411: If you were asked to be in the movie, “Pitch Perfect 2,” would you do it?
Kazantsev: Oh my God! Yes!
FOX411: Miss Nebraska accidentally flashed her underwear to the crowd during the show. Has anything like that ever happened to you?
Kazantsev: We all walk around in a swimsuit so yes every time I walk around in a swimsuit, everyone sees that. The fact that that’s been so sensationalized is really disappointing to me because first of all, Megan is just the most incredible woman, her faith is incredible - everything that she stands for. I really hope that people can see past this snafu.
FOX411: Your platform is anti-domestic violence. Do you think Ray Rice should be banned from the NFL for life?
Kazantsev: It’s an extraordinary moment for Ray Rice to use this attention and bring awareness to domestic violence, and do community service. Hopefully, inspire his colleagues to be the better man, and to never treat a woman like that. I do believe in second chances so may be one day he can come back to the NFL. However, for now I think he has a long road to go, and I hope to see him use this in a positive way.
FOX411: How would you handle the scandal if you were Ray Rice’s wife?
Kazantsev: When people ask why she doesn’t just leave that’s the wrong question to be asking. There’s so many extenuating circumstances to why a woman stays with her husband or her boyfriend or partner. The question instead is what can we do about domestic violence? Because every woman is an expert in her own life and if she’s staying with him there’s a reason, and there’s no one in the world that has the right to criticize or to judge because she knows what’s right for her, when she’s ready to leave she can. She can use the resources that are available. If she doesn’t want to that’s her prerogative. That’s her choice.