Tag Archives: Kelly

Miss Iowa 2013: A True Inspiration. Disability In the Spotlight

11 Jun
disabled beauty, disabled inspiration, disabled fashion, wefly2, beauty pageants

Being born without a forearm  hasn’t slowed down 2013’s Miss Iowa,Nicole Kelly–or lessened her beauty. Photo from the Miss Iowa Facebook page.

“Beauty is Everywhere” is wefly2’s slogan. In Nicole Kelly’s case, one doesn’t have to look hard to find the beauty– or the inspiration. While there have been fashion shows for the disabled in London,  a disabled beauty pageant winner in the US has been unheard of. But Nicole Kelly has made it happen.  Mike Krumboltz of the Upbeat (Yahoo! News)    tells her story (reprinted here in its entirety):

The Story

“Nicole Kelly, the newly crowned Miss Iowa, plans to use her title to help advocate for people with disabilities, reports the DesMoines Register.

Kelly, 23, was born without her left forearm, according to her biography at MissIowa.com (note: site has been intermittently down). Photos can be viewed at the Miss Iowa Facebook page.

After winning the title, Kelly spoke with CBS-4 News. ‘It was shocking and overwhelming—just like that your life changes,’ she said.

‘As I grew up I learned to counterbalance the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give into”‘no,'” Kelly wrote on the pageant site. This means that I tried everything. From baseball, to dance, to diving—there’s nothing I would not try. I found my passion within a world where I was giving people permission to stare: the stage.’

According to Kelly’s biography, she’s currently studying directing and theater management at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She hopes to work on Broadway.

“If you would have told me a year ago that ‘pageant queen’ was in my future I would have laughed,” she wrote. “Giving voice to a platform is a great honor and I am excited to continue my adventure of speaking out and touching lives.”

Kelly will compete in the Miss America pageant on Sept. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J.”

The Inspiration

“I tried everything…would not give in to ‘no'” until “…I found my passion.” There’s a lesson here, whether one is disabled or not.

For everyone who has been mocked or fallen in the dirt amid jeers; for every kid chosen last for a team; for anyone who believed “I can’t” and turned away from a reachable goal, look at Nicole Kelly and take heart. It doesn’t even matter if she wins Miss America this year; her victory in the Miss Iowa pageant shows stunning progress, both for her as an individual and for society. I, for one, intend to watch her on Sept.15.