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Jun 5, 2016 11:49 PM

The Latest: New Miss USA to take break from Army Reserves

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Latest on the Miss USA beauty pageant contest (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Newly crowned Miss USA Deshauna Barber says she'll be taking a break from the Army Reserves to juggle her new duties.

The 26-year-old lieutenant from the District of Columbia was named the winner of Sunday's beauty pageant held in Las Vegas.

She said her current Army commitment is two days per month but that there's great flexibility with the Reserves.

Barber, the first-ever military member to win Miss USA, will compete next in the Miss Universe contest.

She will use her year with the title supporting veteran's causes and hopes to tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members.

Barber said the presidential candidates, including former pageant owner and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, should focus more on veteran's issues instead of discussing unimportant topics.


7:30 p.m.

The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.

Deshauna Barber will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest as the winner of Sunday's 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip.

Barber said that women are just as tough as men during the question-and-answer segment.

She said in part: "As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated ... Gender does not limit us in the United States."

Coming in second was Miss Hawaii, who punted when asked if she would vote for likely presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton or former pageant owner Donald Trump, a Republican.


6:40 p.m.

Miss Hawaii punted at the Miss USA contest when asked who she would vote for among the likely presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton or former pageant owner Donald Trump, a Republican.

Chelsea Hardin said gender doesn't matter when deciding the next commander in chief, but she said the new president should push for what's right for the country.

Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, gave a strong answer when asked about women in combat. The army officer said gender doesn't limit women in the U.S.

Miss Georgia, Emanii Jovan Davis, rounded out the top three finalists with her answer about educating youth when asked about recent policy measures that some say makes it harder to vote.

Miss California Nadia Grace Mejia, the fan favorite, stumbled when she answered an economic inequality question.


6 p.m.

And now it's down to 10.

The finalists for the Miss USA contest in Las Vegas include contestants from Virginia, Alabama, California, Georgia, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota and Hawaii.

They include college students, an Army officer and a registered nurse.

The women will continue on in Sunday's beauty pageant, with the winner set to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

Former pageant owner Donald Trump, who didn't appear at Sunday's Miss USA show, hasn't been forgotten by viewers on social media.

On Twitter, some commented that the event was less campy and more boring than previous years without the brash billionaire's involvement.

Others said they were glad to take in the guilty-pleasure show without supporting the brash businessman and presumptive Republican nominee for president.


5 p.m.

The top 15 finalists have been named at the Miss USA contest in Las Vegas.

Contestants from South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Alabama, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, California, Missouri, Connecticut, Hawaii, South Dakota, Arkansas, Virginia and Oklahoma will continue on in the beauty pageant.

Miss California, Nadia Grace Mejia, was also named the fan favorite.

During the show, the 20-year-old from Diamond Bar talked about suffering from anorexia and wanting to promote body confidence.

The winner of Sunday's pageant will compete in the Miss Universe contest.


4 p.m.

The show has begun at the Miss USA contest in Las Vegas.

The three-hour beauty pageant will feature hosts Julianne Hough, Ashley Graham and Terrence J. The Backstreet Boys, Chris Young and Nervo will perform.

Steve Harvey made a cameo in a video at the start of the show, poking fun of the Miss Universe crowning that he botched in December.

But don't expect former pageant owner and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to appear.

He sold the organization in September following a falling out with broadcasting partners who cut ties with him after he made remarks that offended Mexicans.


10:30 a.m.

A new Miss USA will be crowned Sunday night after a series of controversies last year with the beauty pageant organization, including a breakup with former owner Donald Trump and the mistaken crowning of Miss Universe.

Fifty-two contestants will participate in the 2016 Miss USA competition will be held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip. The Fox network will carry the broadcast at 7 p.m. EDT. Last year, the show aired on cable's Reelz network.

In addition to contestants representing each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the pageant also named a "Miss 52 USA." Alexandra Miller, a 26-year-old from Oklahoma City, got the most fan votes among a group of finalists chosen by the organization.

The winner of Sunday's pageant will compete in the Miss Universe contest.

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