With gender and race dominating the nation’s political discourse of late, it may come as no surprise that the new Miss USA is an African-American from Washington, DC. Many are pleased to see that she’s a nuclear chemist, too. That said, the news that has everyone talking on Monday morning is that she’s conservative. Boldly so.
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Kára McCullough is a 25-year-old who works for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. During the shocking conversational portion of the show that has long been designed to highlight the fact that these women are more than their outward appearances, McCullough talked of feminism and of healthcare.
McCullough graduated from South Carolina State University with a degree in chemistry and has been working in the sciences ever since. And doing pageants, too, apparently.
“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity,” she said after winning. “I just want to encourage so many women nationwide to find their passion in any subject possible and understand that nothing is difficult if you really, truly put the work in for it.”
McCullough is not the first atypical choice for the Miss USA crown. Last year, Deshauna Barber became the first-ever Miss USA winner to be serving in the military.
“I love science. 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.”
When asked about her interpretation of feminism, McCullough said she preferred to use the word “equalism.”
“I don’t want to call myself a feminist,” McCullough said. “Women, we are just as equal as men, especially in the workplace.”
“I believe we’ve come a long way and there is more work to be done,’ McCullough, said. ‘I think domestically we are making progress and I do believe that we will become equal one day.”
Refinery 29 asked why McCullough used the new term instead of the expected answer, she was quick to point out her individuality. “You answered it right there! With the paradigm shift of the competition, formerly a pageant, now a competition, we are highlighting aspects of a modern woman.”
Even more shocking, at least for some, was her discussion of healthcare. “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, so 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,” she said.
These views will, no doubt, would have pleased the former owners of the Miss Universe franchise. But Donald Trump is busier with other things these days. The new owners, NBCUniversal and Univision, haven’t commented.