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Silicon Valley Celebrates Indian Miss America

"We're in the mainstream now"

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Sep 16, 2013  |  Updated 6:29 PM PDT
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Nina Davuluri of New York is Indian American, and she made history by claiming the Miss America crown. Scott Budman reports.

Nina Davuluri of New York is Indian American, and she made history by claiming the Miss America crown. Scott Budman reports.

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The Miss America pageant was historic Sunday night.

No, not because it did anything unusual - the same competitions and eye-rolling interviews were there - but because the judges chose someone unusual. In fact, they chose someone who made history.

Nina Davuluri of New York is Indian American, and she made history by wearing the crown.

MORE: Crystal Lee, Miss America Runner-Up, a Stanford Grad, Techie

Among Davuluri's talents: Bollywood dancing, the kind of dancing done Monday morning at the India Community Center in Milpitas, the heart of Silicon Valley.

NBC Bay Area spoke with some of the dancers, who used terms like "pride," "mainstream success," and told us how cool it was to have an Indian American take home the title.

Now, it should be mentioned that some of the feedback on social media regarding Davuluri was awful. "Terrorist," she was called, apparently by those who not only wanted to disparage her win, but also show off their ignorance as to America's relationship with India.

I could go on, but why? I will mention that Davuluri's response to all this was to go and help people on the Jersey Shore who lost so much to a recent fire. Clearly not the actions of someone who hates this (her!) country.

Anyway, in an area known for Indian success stories, largely in the tech field,  Davuluri is standing out among Indian Americans. It's cool to win something like the Miss America title. Yes, even if it is largely about looks, who wouldn't want that in their community?

It would make me work a little harder in dance class, too.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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