Madison Marsh, a 22-year-old from Arkansas, is competing in the Miss America pageant after recently graduating from the US Air Force Academy. Before becoming an Air Force Officer in May 2023, she won the title of Miss Colorado. Now, as a second lieutenant, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

The Miss America competition, featuring 50 contestants, will take place on January 13 and 14 in Florida. Madison is unique as the first active-duty Air Force officer participating. She expressed her excitement, saying, “It’s an awesome experience to bring both sides of the favorite parts of my life together and hopefully make a difference for others to be able to realize that you don’t have to limit yourself.”

Madison Marsh

Madison believes that her military training has prepared her for the beauty pageant. She sees the military as a place where she can lead both in and out of uniform and winning Miss Colorado was a way to exemplify this. She aims to inspire others to find what means most to them.

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Growing up, Madison’s dream was to become a pilot. At thirteen, she attended a space camp, where she interacted with fighter pilots and astronauts. Starting flying lessons at 15, she earned her pilot’s license two years later. Besides her interest in beauty pageants, Madison envisions herself as a fighter pilot inspired by “Top Gun.”