Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, was promoted to Miss USA during the 2016 pageant in Las Vegas on Sunday. The 26-year-old becomes the newest of more than 60 women to hold the title, but there’s plenty about her that sets her apart from the previous winners.
Ahead of the pageant, Barber appeared in a brief spotlight video piece in which she gave viewers a glimpse into her life. She opened up about her upbringing, telling how she comes from a military family and how that has served as a huge inspiration to her. She also discussed what brought her to the pageant stage in the first place.
Here are 7 things to know about the new Miss USA, Deshauna Barber:
1. Barber’s Not Your Average Pageant Girl:
Barber held an important title long before she was crowned Miss USA. According to E! Online, she became a quartermaster officer in the United States Army Reserves in 2011. She was later promoted to Logistics Commander at Fort Meade in Maryland. As a U.S. service member, Barber made it her mission to “bust through the pageantry glass ceiling.”
2. She Stands For Women:
During the 2016 pageant, Barber made an important point about female veterans. She was asked if the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to take on combat roles “put political correctness over our military’s ability to perform,” to which she provided a flawless, girl-power-packed response.
“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 said (via CNN). “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.”
3. Barber Is Beautiful, Strong And Smart:
The crown holder attended Virginia State University, graduating with a degree in business management. She is now employed by the U.S. Department of Commerce as an IT analyst.
4. She’s Big On Fitness:
Between the military and her role as a pageant girl, Barber is in amazing shape. A quick glimpse at her Instagram proves she stays that way by working out on her own and with fitness gurus like John Anthony Morris.
5. Barber Also Prioritizes Education For Herself And Her Troops:
She may be through with school, but Barber has yet to stop learning. A photo on her Instagram shows her sporting fatigues while strolling through the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C. In the caption Barber explained to followers that she was there with her unit, educating them on the plight of black people in America. She wrote that she felt it is key that soldiers “understand what we are fighting for and grasp the importance of our service to this nation.”
6. She Is Dedicated To Several Important Charitable Organizations:
Barber frequents events benefiting various causes like The USA and Best Buddies. She also volunteers her time with young girls, serving as a positive role model.
7. You Can Find Her On Snapchat:
More and more social media users are flocking to Snapchat every day. Barber frequently takes photos on the picture- and-video-sharing app, later uploading them to the Miss D.C. Instagram. She shared her Snapchat username with followers several weeks ago, allowing them quick access to her account.