Army Reserve officer Deshauna Barber took home the Miss USA 2016 crown last night (June 5) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Giving us a serious serving of #BlackGirlMagic, the 26-year-old Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Md. is the first-ever military officer to win the title, beating out 51 other contestants with her poise, beauty and strength.
With contestants given pointedly political questions, Barber gave a message of power and strength for all women when asked whether the Pentagon’s decision to open up all combat roles to women had jeopardized the “military’s ability to perform”.
“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. 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.”
— Deshauna Barber (@MissUSA) June 6, 2016
During another segment of the competition, she also defined beauty as being more than skin deep.
“To me confidently beautiful means it’s not always about your appearance. 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,” said Barber. “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. Confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I’ve become.”
As Miss USA 2106, Deshauna Barber will now compete in the Miss Universe pageant in December.