By Nicole Darrah, ,
Published August 21, 2017
For the second year in a row, Miss D.C. won the Miss USA crown. That winner, 25-year-old Kara McCullough, quickly stood out to both the judges and viewers, when her responses from the question-and-answer portion of the pageant on Sunday quickly sparked a social media debate on the topics of health care and feminism.
When asked whether she thinks affordable health care for U.S. citizens is a privilege or a right, McCullough said it was a privilege, which didn't sit well with some viewers.
When McCullough was asked later in the program about her views on feminism, she said she likes to "transpose" feminism to "equalism," sparking more outrage from those who disagreed with her response.
Here's what you need to know about the new Miss USA:
-- McCullough is the seventh foreign-born Miss USA. She was born in Naples, Italy and grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
-- McCullough works as a scientist for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with a concentration in Radiochemistry from South Carolina State University in 2013.
-- She was crowned Miss District of Columbia 2017 at the capital’s pageant in December 2016.
-- McCullough held the title of Miss SC State Unviersity 2012-2013 with the platform “Keep Your Coins, Inspire for Change,” which "focused on the empowerment of young African-American women in science, technology, engineering and mechanical related subjects," according to the South Carolina State University website.
-- While in college, she was a member of the school’s Honors College, the American Chemical Society, the Health Physics Society, the American Association of Blacks in Engineering and the American Nuclear Society.
-- McCullough was widely praised during the Miss USA pageant for sporting her naturally curly hair, as opposed to the trend of smoother locks, something she admitted she was initially nervous about.
"I didn't know if people were going to accept it...if anyone was going to be receptive to it at all," she said in an interview with Refinery29.
-- After Sunday night’s program, the beauty queen said she wants to use her platform to inspire children in the fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
"I love science," she explained. "I look at this as a great opportunity to ... get to experience worldwide culture, as well as just having the opportunity to be impacted by so many children, hopefully in the math and sciences."
-- McCullough will represent will the United States at the Miss Universe pageant early next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.