Miss USA 2017 was all about female empowerment and diversity. The event attempted to distance itself from its past by focusing on more than just the superficial aspects of a traditional beauty pageant.
While introducing the group of contestants, host Terrence J focused on their skill sets saying, "We have entrepreneurs, law students, college athletes, social activists, medical professionals, and if that's not enough, one is even a scientist for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission."
Miss District of Columbia, Kara McCullough, was the scientist J was referring to. She seemed to be a focal point of the show from the very beginning, receiving the most screen time and even getting pulled off to the side by model Ashley Graham for a more in depth interview.
When it came time for the contestants to answer questions, McCullough was asked "Do you think affordable health care for all U.S. Citizens is a right or a privilege and why?" And she responded, "I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege. 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."
When McCullough advanced to the final round she was asked if she considers herself a feminist. The chemist replied, "As a woman scientist in the government, lately I like to transpose the word feminism to equalism."
While many on social media were upset by McCullough's somewhat conservative responses, the judges loved them. In an unsurprising move, the contestant with the most screen time was crowned Miss USA.