A new Miss USA has been crowned! Deshauna Barber, an Army Reserve officer and IT analyst from Washington, D.C., stood out from the other contenders to clinch the Miss USA 2016 title Sunday evening.
The 26-year-old beauty stunned at every turn, but her eloquent and thoughtful answers to two questions gave her an edge—and ultimately helped her earn the top spot in the pageant.
The judges asked the final three contestants, which also included Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin and Miss Georgia Emanii Davis, what being "confidently beautiful" means to them, and Miss District of Columbia had a knockout answer.
"To me, confidently beautiful means understanding that it's not always about your appearance. It's not always about who you're around and how they feel you look, where they feel you come from or your economic background," she said.
"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 continued. "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 and confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I've become."
Barber, who works full-time as an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce and is a Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, Maryland, also talked about her military background earlier in the competition. When asked about the government's decision to allow women access to all combat jobs, she said, "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.
The D.C. resident added, "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 Army."