Last month’s coronation of Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly, was very exciting as Kelly will be the first one-armed contestant for Miss USA.
Kelly, however, cannot claim the title of first disabled contestant on Miss USA. That title goes to Abbey Curran, the 2008 Miss Iowa.
You read that right. I triple checked; they were both crowned in IOWA. There is something very special in the state of the wild rose.
Abbey Curran has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy and has some trouble with muscle coordination required for walking. A high-school teacher told Curran that she could not compete in beauty pageants because of her disability, and that was motivation enough to prove them wrong!
In her royal wake, Curran founded a non-profit which allows girls ages 5-25 to compete in a special pageant: Miss You Can Do It. This year marks the 10th annual pageant for disabled women built upon Curran’s belief that you can accomplish great things when you try.
And boy is Curran an example of that! She was told that disabled girls cannot participate in beauty pageants and she turned that idea on it’s head!
This incredible pageant and it’s beautiful founder are featured in an HBO documentary airing this summer. Here’s their summary:
Miss You Can Do It highlights the extraordinary work Curran is doing with the pageant she founded. Curran and a team of enthusiastic volunteers give participants a chance to be celebrated for all they are inside, not just defined by what the world sees on the outside. For one special weekend the young girls, along with family and friends, some who have traveled far distances, spend time in an oasis of fun, femininity and celebration.
No one leaves the pageant empty-handed, with each girl receiving a special award. The real winners of the pageant might be the families and friends, who proudly cheer them on from the audience.
Watch Abbey Curran’s interview with Ellen Degeneres to get a glimpse of how awesome she is and all things she touches. I introduce the original Miss You Can Do It!!