FORT HOOD, Texas — A Fort Hood soldier is bringing more military representation to the Miss Texas USA pageant, all in hopes of being crowned as the first-active duty soldier to win the whole thing.
Kandice Harmon, 24, is a dentist specialist for the U.S. Army. She's been an active member for three years now; first stationed in Belgium and for the last year and a half years, she's been at Fort Hood.
Growing up, Harmon competed in small pageants, but Miss Texas USA will be the first time she competes in a statewide pageant; a window of opportunity that's opened for Harmon as no one was representing Fort Hood for this year's competition.
"As Miss Fort Hood USA -- I thought what a better way to do that than to represent a community that's not entirely represented nationally or even statewide," Harmon said. "Having the opportunity to show that military women can do so much more and that they are so much stronger than people normally think."
She wants to inspire and empower other active duty soldiers that they can be more than just soldiers and that they are valued.
"We can be military, we can be strong, but we can also be vulnerable," she explained. "Sometimes we are looked down upon because we go back to our femininity to try to show that side of us that includes beauty and grace."
She believes that's a strong suit of women in the military and it should have a light shined on it.
Harmon's musically talented, community driven and has a passion for not just service for her country, but the younger generation too.
"I want to make sure that children of today and tomorrow have the opportunity to be safe," she added.
Harmon is a victim but survivor of child abuse herself. She wants America to create better futures for kids.
"We want to make sure that our foster care systems throughout the nations, our kinship systems throughout the nation [are safe], she said. "We want to make sure that our children are being protected in the best way possible. We want to make sure that we are finding the right families for these children, making sure that we can ensure the safety of these forever homes. Does that mean we need to do more monitoring, more background checks -- of course. There's so much that we can do, it is never enough."
She proudly wears the United States of America on her uniform and now on her sash, too.
"It's definitely a positive light to be Miss Fort Hood USA," Harmon added. "As me taking this action, myself taking this step, it's definitely going to change that perspective and show a whole new different light and a different color."
Miss Texas USA pageant will begin on July 1 and end on July 2 in Houston. Contestants will be judged in three equal categories: Personal Interview, Swimsuit and Evening Gown. There is no performing talent competition.
If you would like to attend the competition, you can buy tickets here.
You can vote for Miss Fort Hood USA as the "People's Choice Award," which secures here a spot in the Semifinals.
To watch the pageant over the weekend, click here.
The winner of the pageant will go on to Miss USA.