Fayetteville native named Miss USA
Posted June 5
Updated June 6
LAS VEGAS — A Fayetteville native whose mother is battling lung cancer was named Miss USA Sunday night.
Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, grew up in Fayetteville and is a First Lieutenant in the Army, commander of the 988th Quartermaster detachment at Fort Meade in Maryland.
The Barber family – both parents and three children – served in the military.
Barber will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.
The three-hour show featured 52 contestants representing each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The pageant had also named a "Miss 52 USA," Alexandra Miller, a 26-year-old from Oklahoma City.
The beauty pageant organization is bouncing back from a series of controversies last year, including a breakup with former owner Donald Trump and the mistaken crowning of Miss Universe.
At the start of Sunday's show, Steve Harvey made a cameo in a video to poke fun of the Miss Universe crowning that he botched in December.
Harvey was hosting that event, also held in Las Vegas, and had mistakenly named Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo the winner before correcting himself on the stage. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was then given the crown. Officials later said it was due to human error. The talk show host said he had re-read the card and noticed it said "first runner-up" next to the Colombia contestant's name before clarifying with producers his mistake.
As for Trump — who didn't appear at Sunday's Miss USA pageant — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee wasn't forgotten by viewers on social media.
Perhaps as polarizing as his policy views were the reactions to the Miss USA show on Twitter. Some commented that the event was less campy and more boring than previous years without the brash billionaire's involvement, while others said they were glad to take in the guilty-pleasure show without supporting the businessman turned politician.
A year ago, Trump set off an ugly break up with The Miss Universe Organization, then co-owned by Trump and NBCUniversal. Trump offended Hispanics last June when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House.
NBC, which had aired the pageant since 2003, quickly cut business ties with Trump and refused to carry the 2015 show it had already scheduled. The Spanish-language network Univision also pulled out of the broadcast for what would have been the first of five years airing the pageants.
Trump then sued both Univision and NBC.
He settled with NBC in September. Trump's $500 million lawsuit against Univision claimed his First Amendment rights were violated, as well as claiming a breach of contract. That dispute was eventually settled, too.
The talent management company WME/IMG then acquired The Miss Universe Organization.
Follow Sally Ho at twitter.com/_sallyho. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/sally-ho