Written by. Chalise Macklin
And the winner is….Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber. Barber was crowned the new Miss USA Sunday night in Las Vegas. 52 contestants battled it out for the coveted crown and title. But Barber slayed the competition with her stage presence and strong interview skills. She made history as the first military member to ever snag the crown.
This year’s pageant seemed on the mend after the pageant endured a bit of controversy last year. Former pageant owner, Donald Trump, made some controversial comments about immigrants that lead to NBC and Univision cutting ties with the businessman and the organization. Following the Trump debacle, the organization experienced another hiccup during the Miss Universe Pageant when host, Steve Harvey, mistakenly announced the wrong winner.
The show made some changes to add a fresh feel and connect with the viewers. It was aired on its new home Fox, the organization added a new contestant, Miss 52 USA, and the fans at home served as the sixth judge. The unofficial theme of the night was “Confidently Beautiful” which all the ladies embodied. And showed the world the pageant is more than a competition.
Perhaps the most recognizable change to the pageant was the background story of the contestants. It was not only a way for the viewers and judges to get to know the contestants better, it also allowed little girls, teens, and young ladies to see how relatable the women are. The contestants are more than just beautiful women with killer figures. The women are entrepreneurs, athletes, philanthropists, and highly successful and educated women. Some of the ladies’ personal stories really resonated with issues many young girls face today such as: body shaming, anorexia, depression, and defying the odds. Young girls sometimes experience low self-esteem and have a difficult time navigating through their teen years. Those women personal stories can provide inspiration and empower all while wearing high heels.
Barber will start her preparation for the Miss Universe pageant. She said she plans to use her time as the reigning Miss USA to support veteran’s causes and tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members.