The 24-year-old American of Indian descent Nina Davuluri, who has been crowned Miss America 2014, lived in Vijayawada for a brief period as a child and has strong connections with the city. She is granddaughter of V. Koteswaramma, secretary and correspondent of Montessori Mahila Kalaasala, in the city.

She was just six weeks old when her grandmother brought her to the city and she was groomed by Koteswaramma and her aunt Sashibala, a practising doctor, till the age of two-and-a-half years. “Thereafter her parents took her back to US. But she visits us every summer,” says Dr. Sashibala.

Ms. Nina, who learned Kuchipudi in Vijayawada during her visits in summer holidays, is also a good western dancer. She is fond of Telugu movies and never misses to see the latest. She has not only excelled in dance but has also learnt piano and can wield the tennis racquet with aplomb.

She is a very determined child said Ms Koteswaramma. “She wanted to win the pageant and has done it. And she has done it all alone with a strong one-year preparation. There was strong support of her mother, most importantly she has strong attachment to India and the city of Vijayawada,” said Dr. Sashibala. The rise to fame was not an easy task for the Nina, who is the first Indian-descendent American to win the pageant. In 2006 she was the first runner-up of ‘Teen America’ and from there she resolved to win the coveted Miss America title. In the run-up to the slot, she first won the Miss Syracuse, then Miss New York and finally the Miss America title.

Nina a graduate from University of Michigan wants to join a medical school next year. While her father Davuluri Koteswara Choudhary is a practising gynaecologist in New York, her mother Sheila Ranjani is a web programmer.

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