Miss D.C. took home the Miss USA crown this weekend after giving controversial answers during the pageant's Q&A session at the event in Las Vegas.Kára McCullough is the second consecutive winner representing Washington, D.C., following Deshauna Barber’s win in 2016. A 25-year-old chemist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,McCullough earned a degree in radiochemistry at South Carolina State University. McCullough was raised in Virginia Beach but born in Naples, Italy. She is the seventh woman born outside of the U.S. to hold the Miss USA title. When asked if healthcare is a right or privilege, McCullough picked the latter. “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough responded. “As a government employee, I am granted health care. And I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.” Many people responded to her response via social media. McCullough's second response was to a question about feminism, saying she prefers the term "equalism." “So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism,” McCullough said. “I don’t really want to consider myself, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men.’ But one thing I’m gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”
The producers dubbed her one of the most intelligent contestants in recent memory.The audience cheered loudly and the judges were impressed early on with the new Miss USA winner. McCullough also founded a community outreach program that creates science, math, technology, and engineering opportunities for children.
McCullough wept backstage as she said she was feeling “extremely overwhelmed with joy.” She mentioned that she had just entered the pageant for fun. “I decided to take life as it comes, and if I could encourage anyone else in the world to do that, please — just take your time. Understand the process is so much more important to focus on than just looking toward the outcome,” she said.