You'd think Deshauna Barber would be riding high after being crowned Miss USA, but the Black Army Reserve Officer didn't have much time to completely enjoy her win before racist trolls flooded social media with hate.
"I just knew that everyone would just be ‘whoo whoo’ and [saying] ‘we love Deshauna she represents this country.’ And I have been positively received but there’s been a lot of negative [comments]," Barber told The Huffington Post's Lilly Workneh.
"I was called tar monkey [and] the n-word. I had a lot of moments where people thought I was better off being Miss Africa USA versus Miss USA. And to me, it was very discouraging."
Barber said at first she was shocked by the nasty insults being hurled at her and was left questioning her self-worth before supporters, her boyfriend, friends, and family helped her realize that she was beautiful and deserving of the crown.
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"I had to really reevaluate how I feel emotionally about myself and the confidence that I have because there were moments where I was like ‘Man, am I really that ugly? Do people really think that I don’t deserve to represent this crown?’ Then I realized there’s a lot of little black and brown girls that look up to me saying, ‘She looks like me.’”
Barber has kept these girls in mind, appearing at a panel discussion with young girls of color at The Steve Harvey Foundation’s Girls Who Rule The World camp.
"I really had to understand that, ‘You know what, I’m an American woman. I can be Miss USA and just because my skin is black does not mean that I’m ugly'...I am so happy that I was able to really build my confidence and understand, ‘you know what Deshauna, you’re a queen. You have to stand up you have to really represent that."