Miss USA Deshauna Barber is opening up about beauty pageant stereotypes in a new interview. The first ever active duty U.S. solider to be crowned in the annual beauty contest — defying expectations, to say the least — has plenty to say on the topic.
She was Miss District of Columbia when she was crowned winner of the 2016 Miss USA 2016 pageant and even now months later, her newsworthy feat is still buzzed about. The 26-yaer-old Deshauna Barber is certainly not the embodiment of a beauty queen stereotype — and yes, we know there are stereotypes. In fact, she’s a Logistics Commander of the 988th Quartermaster Detachment at Fort Meade in Maryland. Not exactly your typical model or aspiring actress type.
She told People magazine in a recent interview, “In pageantry, there are the stereotypes that women are airheads or that they’re not educated.”
Continuing, she added, “By winning the Miss USA pageant, I was really able to show that a lot of women have so many backgrounds. We’re all so very unique and diverse so I’m so excited that I’m able to represent that, especially as a woman in the military.”
As for the scrutiny of physical appearance which — let’s face it — goes with the territory, she opened up about some of the negative comments she’s been subjected to. She said, “I was called tar and monkey and the N word. A lot of people thought I should be Miss Africa USA not Miss USA.”
But she revealed that she wasn’t about to allow herself to feel victimized. She said, ““I try to stay as positive as possible and accept the fact that women — we come in all shapes, and sizes, and colors, and I’m glad I’m able to represent that.”
So long as we have fashion magazines and Hollywood dictating standards of beauty, women who fit those external norms will prevail and why now? For those who aren’t fans of such celebrations of external beauty with evening gowns and swimsuits and the like, need not watch.
Deshauna Barber has clearly taken the platform and used it not just to personal advantage but to shine the spotlight on her core mission to help military families. It’s one way to make pageants relevant in the 21st century instead of condemning them as “sexist” or anachronistic.
Towards that end, she’s teamed up with Carnival Cruise Lines’ Operation Homefront. She said of it, “It’s an organization that I’ve worked with a few years ago and they are very much focused on providing a lot of resources for the military family and soldiers.”
You can see the full interview here and check out photos of Miss USA Deshauna Barber below!