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Will this Indian-American teen be the next Miss America?

Last updated on: June 05, 2014 17:34 IST

Image: Lucy Marion Edwards is crowned.
George Joseph

Lucy Marion Edwards, crowned Miss Vermont 2014 recently, will represent the state in the Miss America contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 14.

This was the first time Edwards, 19, a sophomore in neuroscience at the University of Vermont and whose family lives in Virginia, competed in a pageant.

She will represent Vermont in the Miss America contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 14. The winner will be crowned by Miss America Nina Davuluri, who is an inspiration for Edwards.

"Nina has been an amazing role model for me," Edwards said. "I am also studying neuroscience and want to be a physician. So, to have someone like that to look up to, and to know that girls like me can go up there and win, is really inspirational."

Edwards said she was shocked to win, and that she had no coaching for the contest.

"I feel excited and also humbled," she said. "I prepared for the contest by taking care of myself -- eating right and working out -- keeping up with current events -- which is a big part of the interview portion -- and practicing my song!"

Edwards, the fourth of six siblings who says she is proud of her Indian heritage and a lover of Bollywood dance, sang I Am Changing.

Asked what the most difficult part of the contest was, Edwards said, "I think the 'lifestyle and fitness' portion was a little intimidating. It's better known as the swimsuit section. However, when I thought of it as it is named, it gave me a better perspective."

"The interview portion of the competition is one that I think some people don't know about. Offstage, before the competition begins, there is another component known as the interview. The judges ask you some pretty tough questions, from current events and foreign affairs, to how you would further your platform as Miss Vermont or Miss America."

"It was really important to prepare for this part of the competition, as it is worth 25 percent of your total score. I enjoyed the interview, and I especially like telling people about my platform, the B+ Foundation: Kids Helping Kids Fight Childhood Cancer. I can't wait to work with the hospitals in the area, and with the children, and really get cracking on that."

Edwards will receive a four-year academic scholarship valued at $45,600 to Lindenwood University of St Charles, Missouri; A 20 per cent tuition scholarship from the New York Film Academy; a custom 10 karat white gold Miss USA crown ring and other goodies including special training sessions to prepare for the Miss USA pageant.

The current Miss New Jersey, Emily Shah, is also Indian American.