Recently crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri, has a lot on her schedule since getting an upgrade to her title. As the second consecutive Miss New York to win the coveted role and making history as the first of Indian heritage, she is busy traveling the country on a year-long public speaking tour promoting her platform of celebrating diversity through cultural competency. Luckily, she was able to pencil in time for a charity ride at Flywheel, the spinning studio she used to train for the Miss America pageant. We let it fly alongside the beauty queen in class then chatted with her post-workout.
Tell us where the proceeds from this ride are going. “The ride benefited our scholarship fund, which is a part of the Miss America Foundation. Miss America is the largest scholarship provider for young women. We provide over 45 million dollars each year. And I just won $50,000 in scholarship money and an additional $10,000 from Miss New York.”
And what do you plan to do with your winnings? “I’m currently applying to medical school so I have a total of $60,000 to put toward my education.”
Do you know which area of medicine you’d like to focus on? “I graduated from the University of Michigan and my degree was in brain behavior and cognitive science. So that’s a mix of psychology and neuroscience. So psychiatry is definitely on the radar but I feel like it will change once I start being exposed to different fields of medicine.”
Tell us about your training and diet change when preparing for a competition. “I think one of the most helpful things that my trainer said to me was, ‘Nina, a lot of people have a competition weight and a normal weight and that is okay.’ Because you just can’t live on that sort of regimen. So for me, in preparation for Miss New York and Miss America, I was doing a lot of high protein, low carb but I was also strength training every day and then cardio at night. So it was two-a-days and then after I won Miss New York, it changed significantly because I just didn’t have the time to spend in the gym. So I had one hour a day and I did either FlyWheel, CrossFit or Barry’s Bootcamp; those were my go-to’s. And on off days, I enjoy doing yoga so I would do that just to stay flexible.”
When you’re not prepping, how do you maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet? “Even during my entire prep I don’t like saying the word ‘cheat meal,’ but for lack of a better term, I’ll say it. It’s okay, I always tell everyone that’s it’s not only okay to indulge and treat yourself because you’re normal and it’s ok to do that. So even now that I’m on the road traveling, I’m very conscious of maintaining that healthy diet. Because for me right now, 90% is diet because as Miss America, I don’t really have access to a lot of gyms and I’m living out of two suitcases so it’s a little more difficult to actually get in my exercise. But traveling with my Jillian Michaels DVDs and doing interval sprints on the treadmill in hotels whenever I can is how I maintain that.”
Traveling makes it so hard. I can get to the hotel gym but it’s the healthy eating that’s tough. “It is and I think that’s what’s really unfortunate. I think healthier foods need to be made available when you’re in the airport or on the road or traveling or just in general. So hopefully we’ll see a shift in that soon and I think we certainly are starting to.”
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve picked up backstage at beauty pageants? “My biggest beauty secret is eyebrows. Your eyebrows really frame your face so you need to have a good shape. Tweeze in the sunlight or natural light, that’s the best tip I’ve picked up.”