Madison Marsh, a U.S. Air Force officer, has soared to new heights as she claims the title of the Miss America 2024. This 22-year-old, currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School’s public policy department, has proven that the sky is not the limit when it comes to achieving one’s dreams.
A Small-Town Begining
In an interview posted on Miss America’s Instagram story, Marsh shared her inspiring journey. Hailing from a small town and not initially part of the pageant world, she encourages everyone to believe that anything is possible. According to Marsh, the only person standing in the way of your dreams is yourself.
Miss America 2024 is Madison Marsh from Colorado!
— Louise ~ PageantsNews (@PageantsNEWS) January 15, 2024
Breaking Barriers in the Air Force
Marsh, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, makes history as the first Air Force officer to hold the title of Miss America while on active service. She takes over from Grace Stanke of Wisconsin, the 2023 Miss America, with Stanke attending Marsh’s coronation in support.
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
The Pageant Journey
The competition was fierce, with 51 competitors representing the District of Columbia and various states across the nation. Eleven semi-finalists emerged, with ten selected by preliminary judges and one chosen by the public. The finalists went through a series of rounds, including a fitness showcase, a “hot topics” discussion, a talent show, and an evening gown presentation.
Marsh’s Powerful Performance
During the discussion round, Marsh addressed the issue of “drugs in America” and shared a poignant personal experience—her late mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. In the talent round, she delivered a spoken-word performance, recounting her accomplishment of obtaining a pilot’s license at the age of sixteen.
Dedication to Service
When questioned about her objectives as Miss America, Marsh highlighted her military experience as evidence of her dedication to studying and leading with passion. She replaces Wisconsin’s Grace Stanke, continuing the legacy of accomplished and inspiring women.
Miss America’s Teen Pageant
In addition to Marsh’s triumph, Saturday night’s 2024 Miss America’s Teen pageant saw Hanley House, a 16-year-old from North Carolina, being crowned. The future of these young women promises to be as bright as the crowns they wear.