Another milestone for Indian-Americans - FOX 13 News

Another milestone for Indian-Americans

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Indian-American women are going mainstream -- from Monday Night Football to Pepsi's CEO. And now, Miss America herself, Nina Davuluri.

"I mean, they're beautiful, smart; I was not surprised at the least. I thought it was just a matter of time," said Roshni Hannon, one of our executive producers here at FOX 13.

Hannon was a Miss India America finalist herself.

"The one thing that I always told myself is that there is always gonna be one person out there that doesn't like you," she explained.

Nowhere was that more prominent than Twitter, with racist posts making "7-11" references and even calling Miss America a "terrorist."

"They are born American, raised American, and they are changing America in a positive way, so I'm very proud of that, actually," said Dr. Pallavi Patel, a Tampa pediatrician.

She and her husband Dr. Kiran Patel are philanthropists in the Bay Area. They said seeing a fellow Indian-American win the title is a major milestone.

"Not only are we the professionals that we used to be known for -- doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers -- from there we have moved to an entire breadth of the economy and the cultures of the United States of America," Dr. Kiran Patel said.

You don't have to look much further than downtown Tampa to see the mark of Indian Americans in our community -- from the Patel Performing Arts Conservatory to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which will be home to the 2014 International Indian Film Academy Awards.

However, don't let all that Bollywood pageantry fool you. The event promises to draw in at least 30,000 Indians and $50 million into the local economy. That's plenty of reason to celebrate what Indian culture is doing here at home and on the national stage.

"I'm excited! I think it's fantastic!" Hannon said.

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