One-armed Miss Iowa 2013 Nicole Kelly made history on Saturday when she was crowned the winner of the three-day Miss Iowa beauty pageant competition in Davenport, Iowa. Born without her left forearm, the 23-year-old Miss Iowa isn’t just another skinny blonde with bleached teeth.
When she competes for the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, New Jersey in September, she plans to speak about the importance of overcoming disabilities.
The Keokuk, Iowa native is a theater graduate who has interned at theaters in both New York and in Chicago. As she wrote on the official Miss Iowa page:
“I learned to offset the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give in to ‘No.’ This meant that I tried everything! From baseball, to dance to diving, there was nothing I would not try…
“I didn’t originally envision this path, but I now know that being Miss Iowa is the perfect fit for me…Giving a voice to my platform, Overcoming Disabilities, is a tremendous honor…”
Apparently the new one-armed Miss Iowa has a sense of humor too. Although she was simply born without the arm, snoopy people used to ask her how she lost it. Kelly said she would turn that around and ask them what they thought might have happened:
“My favorite explanation to date has been that it was bitten off by a shark — a perfect explanation for someone from Iowa.”
Because I’m competitive and evil like that, I can’t help but ask, “Can she win?”
I have no idea if the Miss America beauty pageant is ready for a visibly disabled competitor, but the blonde beauty has already picked up $10,000 as the first one-armed Miss Iowa — and I doubt many people would have given much for her chances there until she actually picked up the prize.