For the third time in history, Miss District of Columbia won the coveted Miss USA crown on Sunday night (June 5th) in Las Vegas.
Deshauna Barber, a 26-year-old army officer and IT analyst for the US Department of Commerce, edged out 51 other candidates for the right to represent the US in Miss Universe later this year.
Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin and Miss Georgia Emanii Davis finished first and second runners-up, respectively.
During the deciding final word round where the Top 3 were asked to define what “confidently beautiful” means, Barber said it is not always about appearance or economic background.
“Serving in the military has taught me that being confidently beautiful is about being able to earn respect from people regardless of what you look like,” she said. “As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness and they learn very quickly that I’m extremely strong. And although I’m small, I’m powerful and confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I’ve become.”
Barber was also well-applauded during the Top 5 Q&A round. Judge Joe Zee asked her: “The Pentagon recently made the decision to open up all combat jobs to women. Now, some have questioned whether this has put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform at the highest level. What are your thoughts?”
She replied: “As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I am powerful. I am dedicated. And it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”
The winner will move to New York City where she will live during her reign and become a spokesperson for various charitable causes on behalf of The Miss Universe Organization.
Completing the Top 5 were Miss Alabama Peyton Brown and Miss California Nadia Mejía.
The rest of the Top 10 were Miss Arkansas Abby Floyd, Miss Connecticut Tiffany Teixeira, Miss Missouri Sydnee Stottlemyre, Miss South Dakota Madison McKeown, Miss Virginia Desi Williams.
Miss Arizona Chelsea Myers, Miss Ohio Megan Wise, Miss Oklahoma Taylor Gorton, Miss South Carolina Leah Lawson and Miss West Virginia Nichole Greene completed the Top 15.