Cara McCollum, who competed as Miss New Jersey, was eliminated from the Miss America national competition on Sunday night when the top 15 semifinalists were revealed at the beginning of the evening’s programming. An English major formerly a member of the Class of 2014, McCollum is currently taking a year of leave from the University to fulfill her duties as Miss New Jersey.
McCollum could not be reached for comment.
Nina Davuluri, who competed as Miss New York, was namedMiss America.The Miss America 2014 pageant was held in Atlantic City, N.J., for the first time since 2005. Fifty-three representatives from the U.S. states and territories competed for the grand prize.
The preliminary competitions, which took place throughout the week, consisted of the following categories: talent, interview, evening wear and swimsuit. The evening wear competition also featured an onstage question.
The final night’s programming, which aired on ABC Sunday evening, also featured competitions in talent, evening wear and swimsuit, as well as the “Peer Respect and Leadership” and “Top Five Knowledge and Understanding” categories. This year’s judges include Miss America 2005, Amar’e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks, Lance Bass of ‘N Sync and actress Carla Hall from the television show “The Chew.”
Another component of the Miss America pageant isthe platform, a social issue of importance to the contestant. The winner embarks on a year-long national speaking tour to promote her platform. She, as well as the four runners-up, are also awarded with academic scholarships.
McCollum grew up in Arkansas but moved to New Jersey and changed her residency after starting school at Princeton. She began competing last year and was crowned Miss New Jersey this June.
McCollum played the piano for the talent portion of the competition and promote reading as her platform. She started a non-profit organization called the Birthday Book Project in high school, which sends books to underprivileged, elementary-aged children on their birthdays. On campus, McCollum is involved with Princeton Alumni Weekly, the Nassau Literary Review, Kappa Alpha Theta and Fashion Speaks.