Army Captain Deshauna Barber grew up in a very “militant household,” so the thought of entering beauty pageants never crossed her mind. But in 2009, the 19-year-old was in the Army and working at Target when a customer came up to her and changed her life!
It was a shift much like any other until a woman began asking her a series of intrusive questions, including if Deshauna was born in the U.S., if she had children, and if she was married. When Deshauna’s frustration became clear, the customer finally revealed why she was interested: She thought Deshauna could be the next Miss USA!
The teen’s immediate response was a shocked, “Like pageants?” After spending her childhood being bullied for being too lanky, the last thing she pictured herself as was a beauty queen. Still, the stranger, a former Miss Texas USA contestant named Leslie Morton, talked her first into meeting up and then into giving pageants a try.
The first year Deshauna competed at her state-level pageant, she lost. It wasn’t a big surprise since everything was new, so her mentor encouraged her to try again.
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Deshauna went on to lose the same pageant not one but five more times. At that point, she was ready to quit and was convinced that Leslie’s intuition about her was “garbage.”
While most people would have given up long before then, Deshauna decided to give it one more shot. She competed again, and this time, she won and was invited to participate in the 2016 Miss USA competition!
When the prestigious pageant came down to her and one other finalist, she was sure she would lose. Instead, she became the first Miss USA to actively serve in the U.S. military!
Today, Deshauna is using her unique journey to inspire people everywhere as a motivational speaker.
She believes regret should be feared more than failure. After all, failure is an inevitable part of life, and giving up because of the risk could mean “prematurely destroying” an opportunity that could change your life — and countless other people’s!
What incredible perseverance! Deshauna could have given up time and time again, but she pressed on and achieved her wildest dreams!
Learn more about her path to success in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story with someone who could use a reminder to never give up.
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