The 22-year-old second lieutenant is the first active-duty Air Force officer to win the title
U.S. Air Force officer Madison Marsh is 2024's Miss America.
Marsh, 22, who is also a master’s student at the Harvard Kennedy School’s public policy program per CNN, was crowned as 2024 Miss America in Orlando on Sunday. She had previously represented Colorado.
“You can achieve anything. The sky is not the limit and the only person that’s stopping you is you,” Marsh said in an interview shared via Miss America’s Instagram story.
She then added that if she could come from “a small town, not being part of the pageant,” and step into the pageant world, then so could anybody else.
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Marsh, a second lieutenant in the US Air Force, is the first active-duty Air Force officer to receive the title and succeeds Grace Stanke of Wisconsin, who was the 2023 Miss America. Stanke was also present on Sunday to crown Marsh.
The U.S Air Force Celebrated Marsh's win with a post on X — formerly known as Twitter — in which they called her "our very own."
Congratulations to our very own #Airman, 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, aka Miss Colorado — who was just crowned @MissAmerica 2024! Marsh is the first active duty servicemember to ever win the title.#AimHigh pic.twitter.com/3RuDu5CulW
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) January 15, 2024
There were 51 contestants in total, who represented U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Preliminary judges chose 10 contestants to enter the pageant, while the public voted for one, resulting in 11 semi-finalists.
Before narrowing them down to five finalists, the semi-finalists took part in four rounds of competitions, which included a fitness runway walk, a “hot topics” discussion, a talent show and an evening gown presentation.
The finalists then had to speak about their dreams and goals as Miss America.
Per CNN, Marsh opened up about her later mother’s journey with pancreatic cancer when she spoke about the discussion topic of drugs in America. In the talent show round, she opted for a spoken word about receiving a pilot’s license at 16.
Ahead of the pageant, Marsh opened up about what motivated her to take part. Speaking to SWNS, per The New York Post, she said, “It’s an awesome experience to bring both sides of the favorite parts of my life together and hopefully make a difference for others to be able to realize that you don’t have to limit yourself."
She continued: “In the military, it’s an open space to really lead in the way that you want to lead — in and out of uniform. I felt like pageants, and specifically winning Miss Colorado, was a way to truly exemplify that and to set the tone to help make other people feel more comfortable finding what means most to them.”
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