Deshauna Barber, 26, is an active duty U.S. Army officer and an IT analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce, she has now also been crowned Miss USA 2016. Barber represented the U.S. capital as Miss District of Columbia, was declared winner of the pageant ahead of runners-up Miss Georgia Emanii Davis and Miss Hawaii Chelsea Hardin in Las Vegas Sunday night. During the annual beauty pageant, which was held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Barber beat out 51 women for the title. She will now go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest later this year.
According to her biography, Barber was commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer in 2011 and is currently a Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit based at Fort Meade, Maryland. Barber comes from a military family; her father is a retired Army Master Sergeant who told the media that he considers military service “a family tradition.”
A year ago, Donald Trump set off an ugly break up with The Miss Universe Organization, then co-owned by Trump and NBCUniversal. Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House. NBC, which had aired the pageant since 2003, cut business ties with Trump and refused to carry the 2015 show it had already scheduled. Trump then sued both Univision and NBC and settled a lawsuit for $500 million after claiming his First Amendment rights were violated and claiming a breach of contract. These disputes were eventually settled.
Barber stated during the pageant “I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military,” she said. “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.”