Meet Kara McCullough, Your New Miss USA!

The newly crowned Miss USA on Tuesday sought to explain that she thinks she is "privileged" to have healthcare, but that it should be a right. "And I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs". McCullough is the daughter of a Marine and works as a scientist for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"As a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to transpose the word feminism to equalism", McCullough said.

McCullough, who is black, faced criticism on social media, with some Twitter users saying she gave conservative answers only to appease those running the pageant, who they described as conservative. "As a government employee, I am granted health care".

And she didn't exactly douse the flames later on when she stated that she believes universal healthcare is a privilege, not a right-and that, in order to access it, you have to have a job. She continued, "I just want people to see where I was coming from".

"I don't want to call myself a feminist", Ms McCullough said.

Other contestants were asked about teenage suicide, how the U.S. should be viewed by the rest of the world, and women's rights.

The contestants' remarks contrast with the controversy that surrounded the pageant in 2015, when then-part owner and now US President Donald Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House.

McCullough, a woman of color, said she was anxious about how audiences would view her natural hair in a sea of straight and teased pageant locks.

This year's top five finalists were asked questions that touched on the pros and cons of social media, women's rights and issues affecting teenagers. "I think domestically we are making progress and I do believe that we will become equal one day", she added. McCullough held the title of Miss SC State University 2012-2013 with the platform "Keep Your Coins, Inspire for Change".

  • Salvatore Jensen