Miss D.C. Kára McCullough was a favorite among viewers for most of Sunday night's Miss USA pageant, making the top three in fan-submitted votes and winning accolades on Twitter.
Then, the Q&A portion happened.
McCullough took home the Miss USA crown at the end of the night, marking the second year in a row that Miss District of Columbia won the competition. But after her win, online chatter was sharply divided over McCullough's comments during the pageant. Some commenters took issue with her politically conservative-seeming answers, while others praised her for her honesty.
For her final question, McCullough was asked whether she considered herself a feminist, responding that she preferred the term "equalist."
"I try not to consider myself this die-hard, 'I don't care about men' (type)," she said. "Women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace. Firsthand, I've witnessed the impact women have in leadership in the medical sciences as well as in office environments."
A nuclear scientist who championed women in STEM in many of her answers, McCullough was asked during the Q&A portion whether healthcare was a right or a privilege.
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” she said. “As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs.”
While many viewers celebrated the diversity of Miss USA's finalists, not everyone was enthused by McCullough's answers. "Do not take your political advice from this #MissUSA. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege," shared activist DeRay Mckesson on Twitter.
"A brown girl won #MissUSA but she thinks affordable healthcare is a privilege and feminism is man-hate so she's cancelled. #ByeGirl," wrote another user.
Meanwhile, some conservative accounts applauded McCullough's "beauty and brains." If McCullough ever wants a job in media, Fox and Friends had nothing but praise for the new Miss USA on Monday's program, with author Kristen Tate praising her as "such a good role model for young women today" in an interview with the hosts.
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