From winning tiaras to donning fatigues? That’s the trajectory that Brianne Good chose when she dropped out of a national beauty pageant to join the Army.
Brianne, 19, is a private first class, currently stationed in Qatar, specializing in communications and mechanics, reported NBC 11 News. But before she made the decision to enter military service, she was going through the application process for the 2010 Miss Teen America pageant. After being accepted, she started to doubt whether the pageant world was the place for her. “I was going around getting sponsors, and getting all my stuff for the pageant, practicing my walk and going to stylists and such, and I was just uncomfortable with the whole ordeal,” she told NBC 11.
So when she got a call from her Army recruiter just weeks later, she jumped at the opportunity to do something completely different. Brianna finally deployed in January and spoke with NBC 11 News via skype about the importance of having women serve alongside men in the military. “The nation needs women to support the military. Like I said, with the different culture that we go to, males can’t play the same role that women play,” she said, referring specifically to laws in Afghanistan that prevent men from searching women. “It’s good to have women in the military to be able to complete the mission.”
Brianne and her family also spoke about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated space and how her service has impacted her parents, grandparents and siblings. To read more of Brianne's thoughts on being a woman in the military, click over to NBC 11.
Over 76,000 women are currently serving active duty, making up 13.6 percent of the Army. The Air Force is the military body with has the highest percentage of women (19.1 percent), while the Marine Corps has the lowest, with 6.8 percent. And though there are still barriers to being a woman in the military, a Pentagon policy change in February finally allowed women to serve closer to the front lines, in jobs that are higher-risk but also open up opportunities to rise through the ranks.
Brianne isn’t the first beauty pageant contestant to join the military. 2004’s Miss Rhode Island USA, then 20-year-old Allison Paganetti, was competing for the title while in the Army’s ROTC program. And in 2007, Second Lt. Kelly George represented Arkansas in the Miss USA pageant. All of which goes to show, you can't judge a beauty queen by her tiara.
WATCH: NBC News 11 Speaks With Brianne Good On Skype