Kira Kazantsev
Miss New York Kira Kazantsev has been named the new Miss America. Reuters

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev has been named Miss America 2015.

The 23-year-old took the crown at the nationally televised pageant held in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, marking it the third year running that a contestant from New York has walked away with the title.

Her predecessor, Nina Davuluri, became the first woman of Indian heritage to win the Miss America title when she emerged victorious last year.

Kazantsev won a $50,000 (£30,000) scholarship with which she plans to attend law school. She also intends to speak out against domestic violence during her year-long reign as Miss America.

Although she faced criticism on social media for performing a plastic cup rendition of Pharrell William's hit Happy for the talent section of the competition, she insisted it was the "most fun" she had ever had in 90 seconds.

"The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life," Kazantsev said after her victory.

"I stayed true to myself and I did what I wanted to do for my talent, no matter what everybody else told me, and it paid off. I'm very happy about it."

But what do we know about the new champion, who sailed through the competition thanks to her unusual talents and strong desire to combat sexual assault in the military.

IBTimes UK gets to know Miss America 2014 a little better...

Kazantsev Top facts

  • Kazantsev is a first-generation American. Her parents are Russian.
  • She was born in Manhattan, New York.
  • She studied political science, global studies, and geography at Hofstra University.
  • She enjoys singing and performed Pharrell Williams' hit Happy with cup percussion accompaniment.
  • She is an anti-domestic violence crusader.