Deshauna Barber joins the list of our favorite Black pageant winners after being crowned Miss USA 2016.
Sunday night Deshauna Barber, a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia, was crowned Miss USA 2016 beating out fifty-one other contestants – take that Donald Trump.
But in watching last night’s competition, it was clear to see that it wasn’t just Miss District of Columbia’s beauty and poise that afforded her the crown; it was her powerful message of strength and ability.
“As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military,” Barber asserted when asked about the military’s ability to continue performing at the highest level now that the Pentagon has opened all combat positions to women.
“We are just as tough as men. 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,” she assured.
Barber secured her crown and title, winning first place over Miss Georgia (Emanii Davis) and runner up Miss Hawaii (Chelsea Hardin) with her captivating final question response.
“To me confidently beautiful means it’s not always about your appearance,” Barber answered. “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.”
“As a woman in the military, people associate beauty with weakness,” she continued, “and they learn very quickly that I’m extremely strong. And although I’m small, I’m powerful. Confidently beautiful is being myself and being very happy with who I’ve become.”
Miss USA 2106, Deshauna Barber, will go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
Congratulations Miss USA!
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.