Started in Nebraska in 2007, and just recently coming to Illinois, Miss Amazing is pageant made for girls and women with disabilities.
“Its very different from a typical pageant. We help the girls build confidence in a supportive environment through the skills of pageantry. But we don’t judge the girls against each other we judge them individually. The judges are looking for confidence that they develop throughout the day so their scores are developed based on how confident they have become throughout the day and not against another girl,” said Illinois State Director of Miss Amazing, Jessi Peters.
During the all day event, participants learn interview techniques, stage presence and the importance of giving back in their community.
Pageant weekend is also a time to make new friends.
“There were other people with my disability, Down Syndrome, and so it was amazing to see them and sharing the syndrome!” said Illinois Junior Miss Amazing 2015, Lea Schultz.
Each contestant is named a Princess, but the one named Queen moves on to the national competition in Los Angeles.
This year that’s Naperville resident and North Central College student, Nicole Minassian. The 20-year-old welcomes the opportunity to share more about her abilities with the world.
“People just have a tendency to want to ignore what they don’t understand so we just get pushed aside. So I think that going out there and doing things through Miss Amazing, wearing the crown just gets in peoples faces more and shows we can do things and it’s good, and not just try to include people that don’t fit because we can fit into society,” said Minassian.
And for those involved, the confidence gained through miss amazing lasts beyond their time on stage.
“The experience to really show off your true colors and to show your true self on stage. It puts a lot of light in your heart that you’re a somebody you’re not a nobody like you are a somebody and that makes every girl happy inside to stand up with their disability and really stand out,” said Schultz.
Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale reports.
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