Miss USA is a feminist.
On Sunday night, Miss District of Columbia Kára McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017. The 25-year-old government scientist ― dubbed by pageant officials as “one of the most intelligent contestants in recent memory” ― came under fire for some of her comments about health care and feminism during the Q&A portion of the program.
McCullough referred to health care as a “privilege” not a right in response to one question and, later, told the audience she doesn’t consider herself a feminist when asked if she considered herself one.
“I don’t really want to consider myself ― try not to consider myself like this diehard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men,’” McCullough said. “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.”
Watch her full response below.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan published Tuesday, McCullough clarified her comments on both feminism and health care. She said that it can be very difficult to get your full opinion across when you only have 30 seconds to answer such in-depth questions.
“If it were up to me that would have been a four-hour long discussion [about healthcare]... If I have the opportunity just to clarify, I would definitely love to let people know that, yes I am privileged to have health insurance — it’s a privilege for me, and I’m thankful for that,” she said. “But I also do believe health insurance is a right for everyone.”
McCullough also added that she’s “all about women’s rights.”
“Yes, I would have to say I am a feminist,” she said. “... And you know, the word [feminism] can carry different connotations [depending on what] generation you come from, or what background, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m not an active [supporter of] women’s rights. If anyone wants to challenge me on that, please call me.”
McCullough told Cosmo that she hopes to promote science and education with her new platform. The newly crowned Miss USA holds a degree in chemistry with a concentration in radiochemistry from South Carolina State University.
“I run after-school programs, and tutoring sessions and symposiums. It’s about any or all of the sciences, although I am biased; I love to see people major in chemistry ― because the numbers [in that field] are so low,” she said. “I was actually the only person in my class to graduate with a degree in radiochemistry, and so every summer I had a phenomenal internship and I got paid! That’s why I always try to encourage students to find joy in science, because the opportunities are endless.”
Head over to Cosmopolitan to read the full interview.