The Miss Amazing Pageant was founded by former Miss Nebraska Teen Jordan Somer in 2007, after she spent time volunteering for the Special Olympics. She sought to “provide opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment.”
Today, the pageant is indeed doing amazing things—now in the 30 states, all girls five or older who have a disability are eligible to participate. The only cost to do so is one of charity, as all participants must donate five cans of food.
Miss Amazing state director for New York Melissa Felson told Mic that the goal of the pageant is to “de-emphasize individual, beauty-based competition in favor of a framework that supports individuals sharing and building their skills”; it’s to “celebrate themselves and really shine.”
Girls are paired with a volunteer “buddy” and participate in talent portions or public speaking—the goal is to build confidence and self-esteem, rather than adhere to any arbitrary standards of beauty that pageants usually focus on.
Winning is also hardly a focal point of the event; although a “queen” is elected, she acts more as a representative of the rest of the group. According to Felson, “None of it is based on beauty or eloquence. Everything is really sort of based on how that individual accepts herself and shows that she loves who she is despite any difficulties she has."
The pageant truly demonstrates that beauty is not a defining factor in someone’s worth—these women are independent, wonderful, contributing members of society and the pageant helps showcase their wide range of talents and abilities.
Banner Image Credit: YouTube, Jordan Somer