Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, became the first active member of the U.S. armed forces to be crowned Miss USA on Sunday night.
The 26-year-old Army Reserve first lieutenant was presented her crown by 2015’s winner, Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma. Barber beat out 52 contestants of all races and stripes for the crown.
Barber, who is a Logistics Commander, won points with the Obama administration and feminists alike when she compared women to men in the armed forces.
“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,” Barber said during the interview portion of the pageant.
“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.”
The Columbus, GA native is the daughter of a retired Army master sargeant. She will take a leave of absence from her full-time job as an information technology (IT) Analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce to fulfill her Miss America duties.
“I was just crowned Miss USA 2016. This is so surreal,” she said in a video posed on the pageant’s Twitter account. “I’m very much in disbelief. I’m moving to New York tomorrow and I cannot wait for this reign to start.”
“YAAAAS QUEEN! #MissUSA,” someone tweeted from the Miss USA Twitter account. “Attention: First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber is reporting for duty as #MissUSA 2016.”
Miss Georgia, Emanii Davis, was the 2nd runner-up.
— Deshauna Barber (@MissUSA) June 6, 2016