Beating out 50 other women, Miss District of Columbia Kára McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017 on Sunday night.
The 25-year-old, who works as a government employee, wowed the judges with her beauty, bikini, talents and intelligence at the annual beauty pageant broadcast live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Tears streamed down her cheeks as the beauty took her victory lap in her evening look.
But, of course, that left us wanting more info on the newly crowned gal, so we’ve got five things you’ve just gotta to know about the new Miss USA.
1. She’s a Scientist: Kára has a career as a physical scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
She has a degree in chemistry and concentration in radio chemistry from South Carolina State University, where 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. But that ain’t all, she’s also a member of the Alpha Nu Sigma Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Society of Black Engineers, according to The Times & Democrat.
Kára has previously stated that she plans to pursue a career in nuclear pharmacy.
2. She Cares About Kids: Kára funds a science program for kids, called Science Exploration for Kids, which she does all by herself, according to Refinery29. She told the outlet, “I go to the schools to do science projects, tutoring, and presentations… I hope and pray these moments fuel them for their entire lives.”
She loves to learn; her philosophy in life is, “We all live and learn; therefore, nurture simplicity and humbleness.”
The Miss Universe Organization
3. She’s Got a D.C. Connection: The 2016 Miss USA winner, Deshauna Barber, was also from the District of Columbia. Deshauna was also a trail-blazer, being the first active member of the military to be crowned Miss USA. She is a logistics commander in the US Army and an IT analyst for the US Department of Commerce. Now that she’s handed her crown over, Deshauna plans on being a motivational speaker.
4. She’s Going Au Naturale: Instead opting to wear her hair in silky smooth locks like many women, Kára decided to wear her natural for the beauty pageant. The look, which was styled by CHI Haircare’s Albert Luiz, certainly caught some attention the night of and before the big show.
“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,” she told Refinery 29.
“When I choose to wear my hair curly, I was afraid,” she added. “I didn’t know if people were going to accept it…if anyone was going to be receptive to it at all.”
5. She’s Got All Kids of Hair Tips: Kára’s got loads of hot tips on anyone who wants to make the transition from straight to natural hair.
“Do what makes you comfortable, if you’ve been thinking about it, just do it. There will never be a right time to do it. If you are transitioning, my tip is: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!”
She added, “Stay away from combs and brushes and use your fingers to detangle and style. Try to keep your hair in a tight bun as much as you can for the first two years of your transition. When I transitioned from heat-damaged, straight hair to my natural curl again I wore a bun for two years!”
Clearly her brave decision paid off! Congrats, Kára!