Deshauna Barber: 5 Things to Know About Miss USA
The Army Reserve officer's passion, her platform and more!
The first lieutenant, 26, was crowned at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and there's a lot more to know about this game-changing winner.
Here are five fun, fast facts about the new Miss USA.
She's a Proud Army Officer
Here’s one of her quotes that’s making the rounds. "We are just as tough as men," she said when asked about her role in the armed forces and the integration of women into every branch.
Indeed, she's the first-ever Miss USA winner to be in the military.
"As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," she added in the question-and-answer portion of the competition.
Barber, a U.S. Department of Commerce IT analyst and graduate of Virginia State University, plans to take a break to tour and represent the crown. The logistics commander has been in the military for five years.
She's Excited About Moving to NY
It's not a long journey from D.C. to New York City, but the winner posted a video Sunday night about how excited she is to take the crown and with it, move to New York City.
"This is so surreal," she says in the clip. "I'm moving to New York tomorrow and I cannot wait for this reign to start. I look forward to meeting all my fans."
Her Platform for Veterans
Barber will focus on drawing attention to and helping troops who’re struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder.
"Making sure they have what they need when they return from deployment," she said when asked what she was most excited about after winning. "My best friend is currently deployed in Afghanistan and I want to make sure when she comes back, she has the resources she needs to heal any internal mental scars she has."
She wrote earlier this year on Instagram about that best friend: "I will be honest, I am scared and I miss her dearly. Coming from an army family I recognize the dangerous sacrifices soldiers make everyday and the anxiety that comes with knowing your loved one is overseas ... I thought to myself, What does it mean to wear this uniform and stand in front of our flag? I realize it means much more than just patriotism or love for a single nation. This uniform to me means standing up for LOVE and FREEDOM in a world that lacks it."
She's Not Afraid to Speak Her Mind About Gender Equality
Barber plans to use her platform and her success to shed light on gender equality in the armed forces.
She said that she and others were not allowed to join "male-dominated branches" of the military, but that when the military later began expanding and integrating women into all branches, it recognized "women are capable of anything."
Barber wants to inspire other women by showing them that gender need not limit them, she said.
Her Favorite Part of the Pageant
The new Miss USA also had fun while bringing substance to the pageant. After working hard to get to this level, Barber simply said, "Swimsuit was probably my favorite part; I worked hard on this body."