Pop Culture

Miss USA crowned: Army officer Deshauna Barber of the District of Columbia

All hail, Miss USA! Deshauna Barber, representing the District of Columbia, is our new crowned champion.

But Barber didn't just snag the prize for her good looks: She also had an amazing answer to give during the often-tripped-over interview round, as USA Today reported.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images
Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber as she is crowned Miss USA.

When asked her thoughts on women in the military, the Department of Commerce IT analyst and Army Reserve logistics commander had this to say:

"As a woman in the United States Army, I think it is an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military," she said. "We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit I am powerful, I am dedicated and it's important to recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army."

Steve Marcus / Reuters
Barber has a terrific response for co-hosts Julianne Hough and Terrence Jenkins.

MORE: Cheryl Burke steps down as Miss USA pageant co-host amid Donald Trump controversy

But she wasn't done. Her speech on being confidently beautiful (a hashtag was created of the phrase for the evening) went like this: "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 added, "As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness and they learn very quickly that I'm extremely strong, and though I'm small, I'm powerful. Confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I’ve become."

That's worthy of a salute! Or a crown, which Barber landed later in the night.

STEVE MARCUS / Reuters
Barber strikes a fierce pose.

Sunday's pageant in Las Vegas had a smoother outcome than December's Miss Universe pageant, during which host Steve Harvey mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia the winner. (The title had actually been awarded to Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.)

MORE: Steve Harvey apologizes after crowning wrong contestant in Miss Universe pageant

At the opening of Sunday's telecast, Harvey appeared in a video to joke about the gaffe, advising Terrence Jenkins (who co-hosted with Julianne Hough), "Under no circumstances do you say 'Miss Colombia.' Just don't go nowhere near it. Don't mention Colombia, period."

Not entirely possible, as it turned out! But fortunately, Barber was the correct choice. Congrats to her!

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.

TOP