An Army Reserve officer is reporting for a new duty: Miss USA. Last night in Las Vegas, Deshauna Barber—who has served in the Army Reserve since 2011—was crowned Miss USA 2016 after impressing judges in the interview portion. Read on for a closer look (and more fun facts) about the stunning pageant-winner and military woman.
A 26-year-old District of Columbia resident, Barber is a full-time IT analyst for the US Department of Commerce.
Barber is an Army brat. The daughter of a now-retired Army Master Sergeant, she was born in Columbus, Georgia, and has also lived in North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota and Virginia.
After graduating from Virginia State University with a business degree, Barber was commissioned as a quartermaster officer and serves as a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland. Impressive!
Barber nailed the pageant’s interview portion. When asked whether the Pentagon’s decision to open combat roles to women had put “political correctness over our military’s ability to perform,” she responded: “As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military.”
She continued: "We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated, and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States."
Barber is not the first African American to be crowned Miss USA or Miss America. In 1984, Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America, stepped down after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine.
Barber hopes to use her profile as Miss USA to highlight the health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that veterans face when they return from combat.
She will now go on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.
Steve Harvey did not host this event. (Julianne Hough, Ashley Graham and Terrence J handled hosting duties.) But he did appear in a video poking fun at himself and his blunder at the Miss Universe pageant last December.
Barber is only the third winner from the District of Columbia, and the first-ever military service member to take home the coveted crown.
Barber won the pageant ahead of first runner-up Chelsea Hardin, Miss Hawaii, and second runner-up Emanii Davis, Miss Georgia. (For what it’s worth, Made Man’s video intern, Claire, thinks Miss Georgia should have won.)