Take a look at this story from our colleagues at The Huffington Post about Nicole Kelly, the newly crowned Miss Iowa.
Nicole, who will go on to compete in the larger competition on September 15, was born without her left forearm. She found an outlet in the performing arts because, as she explains in her pageant profile, the stage offered “a world where I was giving people permission to stare.”
We love the reminder that diversity is about more than race alone, and we love the way Nicole has owned her disability, making it a centerpiece of her platform and crediting it with her interest in the stage.
“It was a place where I could say ‘here I am, and I’m confident in myself,'” Nicole told CBS 4, whose anchor added, “Her real passion is to help others like her find their spotlight.”
Tell us what you think of Nicole and her accomplishments? Could this story have been possible ten years ago? How close are we to a time when Nicole’s disability will be the side note instead of the centerpiece of a story like this? Whatever the future holds, we’ll be rooting for Nicole when she competes at the Miss America competition in September.
Photos from The Huffington Post, International Business Times, and Miss Iowa Scholarship Program.