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Miss America Madison Marsh Reflects on Becoming the First Active Duty Service Member to Win Prestigious Pageant Title

miss america madison marsh st active duty service member win
Source: MEGA

Mar. 22 2024, Published 5:17 p.m. ET

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Miss America 2024 winner Madison Marsh is an inspiration for women worldwide.

The Air Force 2nd Lt. was crowned with the prestigious pageant title earlier this year, making her the first active-duty service member of the United States Armed Forces to win in Miss America history.

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miss america madison marsh st active duty service member win
Source: The Big Hoopla

Madison Marsh was crowned the winner of Miss America 2024 back in January.

Serving her country and being a role model for girls everywhere seems to come second nature for Marsh — who was recently able to combine her polar opposite careers during a Tuesday, March 19, visit to the First Four of the NCAA Men's Division 1 March Madness basketball tournament, hosted by the Big Hoopla in Dayton, Ohio, the home of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Ahead of the madness, Marsh sat down for an exclusive chat with OK! about her experience as Miss America thus far, what her plans are going forward and the motivational message she hopes to send to women not only in the country she loves, but across the globe.

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miss america madison marsh st active duty service member win
Source: The Big Hoopla

Madison Marsh at the First Four of the NCAA Men's Division 1 March Madness basketball tournament, hosted by the Big Hoopla in Dayton, Ohio

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With two months as Miss America in the books and 10 months to go, Marsh admitted, "I never really understood how busy things were going to be," though she noted it's been a blessing in disguise.

"I've never traveled this much before. I'm kind of a homebody. Being able to push myself and really learning how to pack a smaller suitcase [has allowed her to learn] a lot of skills in that area," the blonde beauty queen quipped.

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miss america madison marsh st active duty service member win
Source: MEGA

Madison Marsh became the first active duty service member to win the Miss America title.

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All in all, the experience has "been a lot of fun," Marsh said. "You meet so many different people. I can go from speaking to a school in a military uniform and then three hours later be ready to go meet with people at the Super Bowl and then maybe the next day I'm doing a speaking event and recording stuff for my nonprofit."

"You really never know what the day is going to bring [and] the people that you're going to meet. I think that's what makes this whole process really beautiful, being able to work between the Air Force and the Miss America," she continued.

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As an active duty service member, Marsh feels winning the Miss America title proved women "can be feminine and still lead" without those two qualities "taking away from one another."

"We can still have all of these other interests and lead really beautifully throughout the military and whatever other sectors that we choose in America. The fact that I get to be Miss America at the same time just puts the cherry on top because I can lead, I can serve, I can do my community service, I can work on my nonprofit for pancreatic cancer while still putting on the uniform. It's been amazing to say the least," Marsh detailed.

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miss america madison marsh st active duty service member win
Source: MEGA

Madison Marsh hopes to use her title to expand her nonprofit, the Whitney Marsh Foundation.

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Looking ahead at what 2024 has to hold, Marsh is "really excited to keep pouring into my nonprofit, the Whitney Marsh Foundation."

"We have our big fundraiser race at the end of this year in Fort Smith, Ark., on November 9. That's going to kind of tip off the next five years of our nonprofit," she explained.

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Source: OK!

Marsh, who started the foundation after devastatingly losing her mother to pancreatic cancer in 2018, is determined to expand her cause by "focusing on a more national perspective."

"Being able to focus on legislation, focus on funding because that is where all of it starts. That's where the change begins for patients and without that we can't really make any strides for people like my mom," Marsh concluded.

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