Miss Colorado Madison Marsh won the 2024 Miss America title during Sunday’s pageant, becoming the first contestant in Miss America’s 100-year history to be a serving officer in the US military.
The 22-year-old Marsh serves as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, having recently graduated from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado.
The US Air Force celebrated Marsh’s victory on Twitter Sunday night, featuring a photo of Second Lt. Marsh in the cockpit of a plane beside a photo of Marsh in her Miss America crown.
In an interview featured on Miss America’s Instagram account, Marsh expressed excitement over the opportunity to “represent women who can break stereotypes” and said she looked forward to showing “what it means” to be both Miss America and a member of the US military.
Marsh received a degree in physics from the US Air Force Academy, with a focus on astronomy. She is currently pursuing a master’s in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.
After winning the Miss Colorado competition in May 2023, Marsh told the Harvard Crimson that there were similarities between serving in the military and beauty pageants like Miss America, explaining that both are “serving but in a different way.”
She explained that in uniform, she is serving and representing the United States, and when she is in her crown and sash, she is serving and “representing my community.”
Marsh told the Crimson that she first started competing in beauty pageants during her first year at the academy. She said she never would have gotten into Harvard University if she hadn’t attended the Air Force Academy, nor would she have been crowned Miss Colorado without the academy, where the Air Force “trained and honed in on my leadership.”
Marsh succeeded Miss America 2023, Wisconsin’s Grace Stanke.
In the 2024 Miss Teen America pageant held on Saturday night, North Carolina’s Hanley House, 16, was the winner.
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