Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was named the new Miss America Sunday night, marking the third year in a row that a contestant from her state has walked away with the crown in the nationally televised pageant.
Her talent portion was singing Pharrell Williams’s hit song “Happy” while sitting cross-legged on the stage and banging a red plastic cup on the floor. What she had no other talent?
Kira Kazantsev, 22 years old, is a graduate of Hofstra University Honors College. Finishing her undergraduate career with a triple major in Political Science, Global Studies, and Geography, Kira plans to attend law school and pursue work in women’s issues and international diplomacy. As a first generation American, Kira speaks Russian fluently in addition to Spanish from her studies growing up.
“It’s definitely monumental,” Kazantsev told New Jersey Advance Media, still wearing her striking white evening gown during a post-crowning press conference. “This is the first time in the organization’s history, I believe, that a state has won three years in a row.”
What is it about New York that has produced so many winners lately?
“The thing about New York, especially being Miss New York, is that you have to make it,” Kazantsev continued. “You have to bust your little ass to get to where you want to go, and that creates somebody that’s very independent, very self-serving — or, not self-serving … um — very able to … to do things on their own.” And yes, she said, if you can make it in New York, you can make Miss America.