Permission to Stare

Miss Iowa long

From 2014

Nicole Kelly, 23, was recently chosen Miss Iowa and will represent her state in the Miss America Pageant in September.  Born without a left forearm, Miss Kelly was determined not to let her disability get in the way of her dreams.

“As I grew up I learned to counterbalance the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give in to ‘no.’”

Theater was not only an outlet to help her express herself, it eventually became her chosen career path.

“From baseball, to dance, to diving — there is nothing I would not try. I found my passion within a world where I was giving people permission to stare: the stage.”Miss Iowa

She plans to speak out about disabilities and spotlight VSA, a program she participated in which provides opportunities in the arts for people with special needs. 

Miss Kelly will be the second Miss America Pageant entrant with special needs, following Alexis Wineman’s placement in the final fifteen last year.  Read our previous article about Miss Wineman HERE.