Several years after being ridiculed for hosting the “wokest” Miss America pageant in history, the internationally-known event has crowned an active Air Force officer in an about face that has conservatives celebrating their winner.
Madison Marsh, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2023 and remains an active duty officer, was announced the winner of the annual contest on Sunday night in Orlando, Florida. She is the first active military member to be crowned Miss America.
If her patriotic credentials weren’t enough for viewers to learn about Marsh’s political views, they may have picked up a signal during her answer to the “what is a woman” question.
“You know, serving to me – being a woman in the military is all what you make of it. And for me that’s been being able to do both – that means representing my mom who I lost to pancreatic cancer and living through her life, because I get to live even though she doesn’t.”
Shortly before she was announced the winner, Marsh, who won the Miss Colorado title, appeared on Fox News to speak about her desire to serve the country while competing on her own terms.
“I started flying around 15, that’s whenever I kind of fell in love with the Air Force Academy and the idea of serving. And so I walk through what that flight looks like and some of the things that went wrong and how they relate to me today as a leader and an officer, and kind of how that goes into pageantry as well,” Marsh told “Fox & Friends” Sunday night.
“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,” she told the New York Post in an earlier interview.
Marsh’s love of country and beauty pageants do not encapsulate the end of her passions, however. She is currently pursuing her public policy master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School.
“Towards the end of my time at USAFA, I started to realize that my bigger passions were in policy-making and cancer research, so that’s why I ended up at the Kennedy School.” She continued, “I’m now trying to take the next step and use my studies from the Kennedy School to learn about the inner workings and the difficulties of what policy really looks like… Issues like economic environments and other social pressures that might be inhibiting our ability to implement cancer policies that can affect all Americans.”
In an Instagram post on the Miss America account, Marsh encouraged the young contestants of tomorrow to follow their hearts. “You can achieve anything. The sky is not the limit and the only person that’s stopping you is you,” said said.
Even the official USAF account on X got in on the celebration, posting a congratulatory message shortly after her victory.
“Congratulations to our very own #Airman, 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, aka Miss Colorado — who was just crowned
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
In 2021 the New York Post took issue with Miss America’s “wokest” pageant ever, which featured an array of diverse contestants as well as the contest’s first ever transgender entrant. Although she did not win that year, Kataluna Enriquez, 27, was crowned Miss Nevada on her way to the national stage.
“Don’t let your differences determine what you’re capable of. Your differences is anything that makes you unique, and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself,” Enriquez said at the time.