1. She’s young and talented. The 25-year-old is a chemist working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory commision. Her work in the STEM field makes her passionate about the impact of women in the sciences. “I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences, as well as just in the office environment,” she said. “So as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.”
2. She’s internationaly known and locally respected. McCollough was born in Naples, Italy and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. She’s the second African-American woman representing Washington, DC. to win the Miss USA beauty pageant in a row.
3. She’s already causing controversy. McCollough has a polarizing opinion about healthcare. When asked about whether she felt like healthcare was a privilege or a right, she affirmed her beliefs that it is a privilege opening her up to much criticism via social media. “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. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health-care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.”
4. She has a unique take on feminism. When asked about her ideas on feminism, McCollough shared a slightly unique take. “So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism,” she said as members of the audience cheered. “I don’t really want to consider myself — try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men.’ 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.”
5. She’s all about natural beauty. The stunner made it a point to grace the Miss USA stage with her natural curls in tow. She says it was all about feeling her best and making a statement. “I decided to embrace what makes me feel comfortable and what makes me feel the best and brightest on stage, but also embrace what other people can relate to,” she told Refinery 29. “That typical, traditional sleek hair with a big tease, not to say it’s gone out the window, but it’s transitioning a lot.”