Miss Amazing-Pageant redefines beauty
There are many different kinds of beauty pageants, but only one very special Pennsylvania Miss Amazing contest, where this year 20 girls and women with disabilities vied for recognition and prizes in the second annual event at the Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Arts in South Bethlehem.
The contestants, ranging in age from 6 to 37 years old, came from throughout the state.
They competed for the title of queen in one of six different age-based categories and were judged on the basis of their poise and self-confidence. While the pageant included evening wear and talent performances, according to the mission of the event, it is not about competing on the basis of physical beauty.
The 2017 queens are:
• Preteen, Joan Reyes, 11, Allentown
• Junior Teen, Reilly Bauer, 13, Lansford
• Teen, Lalka Kline, 18, Allentown
• Junior Miss, Sydney Laabs, 22, Hawley
• Miss, Kimberly Lagala, 27, Allentown
• Senior Miss, Shernell Pierre, 29, Emmaus
The Pennsylvania Miss Amazing event is a division of the national Miss Amazing nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to providing opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build their self-confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment. Miss Amazing was founded in 2006 by former Miss Nebraska Teen Jordan Somer when she was only 13. She was inspired by her volunteer work with Special Olympics.
On the organization’s website, Somer explains, “With help from an expansive network of supporters, Miss Amazing has become so much more than a pageant. We are a community. We are a culture of celebration and empowerment. Miss Amazing is a movement created by a collective desire to acknowledge the beauty and value within all people.”
Today, there are programs in 30 states, and more than 100 girls and women compete annually in the national Miss Amazing Pageant.