Sunday, February 25, 2024

Air Force Officer Madison Marsh Crowned 2024 Miss America in Glitzy Orlando Ceremony

HomeEntertainmentAir Force Officer Madison Marsh Crowned 2024 Miss America in Glitzy Orlando...

Orlando, FL – In a glamorous ceremony on Sunday night, 22-year-old Madison Marsh was crowned the 2024 Miss America at the annual national pageant held in Orlando, Florida. Marsh, who represented the state of Colorado, is a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Marsh is the first active-duty military officer to ever win the Miss America title in the pageant’s 98-year history. Her victory marks a groundbreaking milestone for women in the armed forces.

The Miss America competition kicked off last Tuesday with three nights of preliminary competitions involving all 51 contestants, representing each U.S. state and the District of Columbia. On Sunday, the pool was narrowed down to a group of 11 semi-finalists – 10 selected by preliminary judges and one “People’s Choice” pick voted online by pageant fans nationwide.

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The 11 semi-finalists competed in four rounds – a runway fitness walk in glitzy athleisure wear, a “hot topics” discussion addressing issues like terrorism, technology, climate change and nutrition, a talent showcase, and an evening gown presentation. Marsh delivered a moving spoken word piece about earning her pilot’s license at 16 for her talent.

After these rounds, the selection was further narrowed down to just five finalists – Marsh, Ellie Breaux of Texas, Cydney Bridges of Indiana, Mallory Hudson of Kentucky, and Caroline Parente of Rhode Island.

The finalists faced one last question about their goals as the potential Miss America. Marsh emphasized her military service and education as proof of her commitment to leading with passion.

Ultimately, it was the poise, intellect, and talent of Madison Marsh that earned her the 2024 crown. As Miss America, the Air Force officer and Harvard student will spend the next year advocating for her social impact initiative focused on veteran suicide prevention.

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Marsh expressed gratitude for the honor, saying “My goal is to connect more Americans with those who serve our great nation every day. The military protects our freedoms, and veterans need our support when they return home.”

The new Miss America succeeds Grace Stanke of Wisconsin, who was crowned in 2023. Marsh is the first Miss Colorado to win the title since Monica Thompson in 1983.

The competition marked the third straight year that Miss America was held in Orlando, though the pageant historically rotated its location. The Miss America Organization said Orlando provided continuity after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted previous plans.

Critics have called for Miss America to further modernize and move away from the emphasis on contestants’ appearances. But marsh’s victory as an Air Force officer with impressive academic credentials may help counter that image.

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Pageant CEO Amy Halter said, “Madison epitomizes exactly what we look for in our Miss America winners – she’s intelligent, driven, compassionate, and an inspirational role model for girls and women.”

The Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant was also held in Orlando on Saturday night, crowning 16-year-old Hanley House of North Carolina as the 2024 winner. House succeeds outgoing teen Miss America, Lauren Bradford of Alabama.

Madison Marsh’s groundbreaking Miss America victory as an active military officer shows that women continue shattering glass ceilings in 2024. Marsh will undoubtedly use her year-long national platform to empower women and advocate for veterans during her barrier-breaking reign.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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