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Four military women to compete this year for Miss America crown

National competition to be held in December

Photos provided by: Spc. Ayriss Torres; Ensign Lydia Sohn; Ensign Andolyn Medina; U.S. Army and Spc. Maura Spence-Carroll

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An active-duty soldier, an Army reservist and two Navy ensigns in the Reserve will trade their name tapes and uniforms for sashes and sequined gowns to compete for the crown of Miss America.

After the dust settled from final state competitions in July, at least four military women earned spots in this year's Miss America competition, seemingly more service members than have graced the stage at one time in the pageant's 100-year history.

"There just seems to be this idea that women who embrace their femininity can't do traditionally ‘masculine things.' The reality is that we can," said Spc. Maura Spence-Carroll, an intelligence analyst in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo.

The 21-year-old, and now Miss Colorado, said so many service members competing for Miss America just shows that women are multifaceted.

"I just have different things that I'm interested in. Because they seem like such polar opposites, being in the military and then competing in Miss America, it doesn't mean that I am splitting myself. I'm wholly myself because I am able to enrich my life through different perspectives," she said.

The other service women crowned in the past two months to compete for Miss America are Spc. Ayriss Torres, 21, a civil affairs specialist in the Army Reserve who will compete as Miss Idaho, Navy Ensign Andolyn Medina, 25, as Miss District of Columbia, who serves in a Reserve status to attend George Washington University as a full-time doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, and Ensign Lydia Sohn, 25, as Miss Maryland, who also is in a Reserve status as she prepares to enter Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2022.

Both Navy women are part of the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program, which pays for a person's education in exchange for active-duty service in several health care fields after graduation.

The 2021 Miss America competition will be broadcast live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The date in December has not been announced.

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