On Sunday night in Orlando, Florida, Madison Marsh, a 22-year-old second lieutenant in the US Air Force and a master’s student in the public policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School, emerged victorious at the 2024 Miss America pageant. Representing Colorado, Ms Marsh made history as the first-ever active-duty Air Force officer to hold the national title.
“You can achieve anything. The sky is not the limit and the only person that’s stopping you is you,” Ms Marsh said in an interview shared via Miss America’s Instagram story.
She further said 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.
Ellie Breaux of Texas placed as the first runner-up.
Fifty-one contestants participated in the event, representing all 50 US states, as well as the District of Columbia, CNN reported.
The US Air Force also celebrated Ms Marsh’s win with a post on X, formerly Twitter. “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,” the caption read.
See the post here:
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.#AimHighpic.twitter.com/3RuDu5CulW
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) January 15, 2024
Notably, Ms Marsh was crowned Miss Colorado in May 2023, just days before she graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in physics. She dutifully joined the branch as a second lieutenant, while also pursuing her master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and training for the Miss America pageant.
“It’s an awesome experience to bring both sides of the favourite 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,” Ms Marsh said, as per the outlet.
“In the military, it’s an open space to 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,” she added.
The 22-year-old said that her physical training for the military came in handy during her preparation for the beauty pageant. “For me, it’s great because I need to stay physically fit and in the gym for the military, so it already coincides with pageant training,” she said. ‘