Miss USA 'Thankful' for Experience, Clarifies Controversial Remarks on Feminism

Hosts Ashley Graham and Julianne Hough defended her.

The nuclear scientist from Washington, D.C., who was crowned Miss USA Sunday night, is trying to clarify some of the controversial comments she made some during a Q&A segment of the event, which left many viewers scratching their heads.

Read: Nuclear Scientist's Remarks on Health Care, Feminism Draw Controversy as She's Crowned Miss USA

Miss D.C. Kára McCullough, who works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the crowd during the pageant that she does not consider herself a feminist.

“So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism,” McCullough said. “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.”

Speaking to Inside Edition, McCullough expressed her sheer joy that she emerged the winner. 

“I am so thankful for this experience, it is surreal,” she told Inside Edition.

She also attempted to set the record straight on her remarks.

“Feminism does have this very negative perception. When people hear it, they are like, ‘Oh, she just cares about women’s rights, she doesn’t care about men,’ but that is not what it is.

When asked during an onstage Q&A session about whether she thought health care was a privilege or a right, she went with privilege, which sparked ire among some social media users.

“As a government employee, I am granted health care and I see first-hand that for one to have health care, you have to have jobs,” she said during the pageant. “So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide.”

While some of her comments resulted in a firestorm, those involved with the contest were impressed with their newly crowned Miss USA, including a host of the event, model Ashley Graham.

“We get to hear their opinion on things that are going on in the world and I think that is very beautiful,” Graham told Inside Edition.

Read: Beauty and Bikinis, Backstage: Behind the Scenes at the 2017 Miss USA Pageant

Host Julianne Hough, who asked the questions, also spoke about Miss USA’s comments.

“It is an amazing opportunity for this young woman to shine light on what it means to be a strong, confident, powerful young woman today,” she told Inside Edition.

Watch: Oh La La: Ashley Graham Gives a Lingerie Show From Hotel Room Window