A 22-year-old aspiring law student born to Russian immigrants has won the 88th edition of the Miss America beauty contest.
Kira Kazantsev from New York was named the most beautiful woman in the U.S. at the annual Miss America contest held Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey, The Associated Press reported.
It is the third consecutive time a contestant from New York has won the title.
Kazantsev, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Russia, studied political science, global studies, and geography at college, and also speaks Spanish in addition to fluent Russian and English.
Of her family's background, she told local news site The Press of Atlantic City: "My parents left [Russia] for a better life … They gave up everything to make a better life for me and my little brother."
During her appearance at the contest, she performed an a cappella version of U.S. singer Pharrell Williams' song "Happy."
As well as the Miss America title, Kazantsev was awarded a $50,000 prize, with which she intends to fund her studies at law school, AP reported.
The newest Miss America also plans to use her language skills to help Russian-speaking victims of domestic violence, Trud.ru reported, having herself suffered abuse during her college years.
She will now embark on a year-long tour of the U.S. in her capacity as a Miss America ambassador, during which time she will travel about 20,000 miles a month, the report added.