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This US Air Force Officer Is the Newly Crowned Miss America

By Orgesta Tolaj


19 January 2024

Miss America

© missamerica / Instagram

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of them all? 🪞

Beauty pageants are known for glamorous gowns, talent showcases, and crowning a new queen. But what if the newly crowned Miss America has a different background than what is typically expected? Meet the newly crowned Miss America 2024, a former US Air Force Officer, who is breaking stereotypes and making history.

The Miss America 2024 Pageant

Fifty-one contestants from all 50 US states and the District of Columbia participated in the 2024 Miss America pageant. The competition included three nights of preliminaries, leading to 11 semi-finalists: 10 selected by judges and one chosen through a public vote open to pageant fans nationwide. The 11 finalists in the 2024 Miss America pageant engaged in four rounds of competition, featuring a fitness showcase, a “hot topics” discussion round, a talent performance, and an evening gown presentation. The finalists included Ellie Breaux of Texas, with Madison Marsh ultimately winning.

The discussion round covered diverse topics, such as terrorism, technology, nutrition, and climate change. During this segment, Marsh shared her personal experience with her late mother’s struggle with pancreatic cancer when discussing “drugs in America.” Moreover, in the talent round, Marsh delivered a spoken-word piece centered on achieving a pilot’s license at the age of 16. The final rankings also included second, third, and fourth-runners-up: Cydney Bridges of Indiana, Mallory Hudson of Kentucky, and Caroline Parente of Rhode Island, respectively.

Who Is This Year’s Miss America?

Madison Marsh, a 22-year-old Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, made history as the first active-duty Air Force officer to hold the Miss Colorado state title and compete for the Miss America crown. Crowned Miss Colorado in May 2023, Marsh, originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in physics, focusing on astronomy.

She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Marsh decided to enter pageants during her time at the Air Force Academy, as reported by the Air Education and Training Command in a profile published in November.

© missamerica / Instagram

Who Won Miss America Last Year?

This is not the first time someone has broken the norm for Miss America pageants. Grace Stanke, a 20-year-old nuclear engineering student from the University of Wisconsin, was crowned the winner of the 2023 Miss America competition at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. She received a $50,000 scholarship and had previously earned a $2,500 talent scholarship for her impressive classical violin performance during the preliminary competition. The first runner-up went to Taryn Delanie Smith of New York, and the second runner-up was Averie Bishop, the first Asian American Miss Texas winner.

© missamerica / Instagram

Grace Stanke, the winner of the 2023 Miss America competition, was crowned by Emma Broyles, the first Miss Alaska and Korean American to win the title last year. Stanke, a nuclear engineering student from the University of Wisconsin, made history as the first nuclear engineer to compete in Miss America. Inspired by her father, she aims to pursue a career in engineering. Stanke has initiated a social impact project called “Clean Energy, Cleaner Future,” with the goal of educating people about the advantages of nuclear energy.

In a society that often focuses on external appearance, it’s refreshing to see a Miss America who not only embodies beauty but also represents strength, intelligence, and bravery. This year’s winner is a true inspiration, proving that beauty pageants can be a platform for highlighting the diverse achievements and stories of women across the country.

So, what do you think of this year’s crowned Miss America?

You might also want to read: Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios Wins Miss Universe 2023

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!