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Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer
Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer
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California’s “Miss Amazing” Is a Pageant with a Difference

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 10 January 2018
Beauty pageants take place all over the world for women to showcase their intelligence, physical attributes, talents, and more. These shows also have lots of traditions, some of which the Miss Amazing Pageant is looking to change.

Miss Amazing is doing what has needed to be done in the pageant industry for years. This California pageant is open to girls and women of all shapes, sizes, and disabilities. It’s the first of its kind, building these young ladies’ self-esteem that will last them a lifetime.

Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

It’s become an unfortunate feature in our world’s society where not fitting into a particular cookie-cutter type of appearance or personality opens the doors to bullying, outcasting, or worse. If you’re a girl or woman with disabilities, these grievous acts are nearly twice as likely to happen. What Miss Amazing does is open up a world of support and a narrative that allows these women to feel their true beauty. Even if it doesn’t fit into what society deems “beautiful,” it doesn’t matter because these Miss Amazing ladies are beautiful inside and out, and that’s what this pageant highlights.

Hair and Makeup
Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

Miss Amazing’s approach aims to build these ladies’ confidence and provide an open platform to encourage the breaking down of stereotypes and allowing women with disabilities to make a statement about who they really are.

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Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

It all began over 10 years ago after 13-year-old longtime Special Olympics volunteer Jordan Somer wanted to create a space for women and girls with disabilities to show off their beautiful selves. No stranger to the pageant life, Somer concocted the idea of the Miss Amazing Pageant, which would serve as an empowering space for girls and women with disabilities to celebrate their skills, creativity, and power.

Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

In 2007, the very first Miss Amazing Pageant, actually held in Omaha, Nebraska, took the state by storm. By 2010, Miss Amazing received recognition on a national level. By 2015, the pageant would take place in 30 states in America, bringing stereotype-breaking empowerment to girls and women all over the country.

When asked about her experience and hopes for Miss Amazing, Jordan Somer’s dedication and passion to rid our society of its prejudices towards women with disabilities was both determined and inspired.

Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

“ltr”>”It’s been incredible to see Miss Amazing grow from a community event with 15 participants and a handful of volunteers into the nationwide nonprofit that it is today,” Somer said. “I am continuously blown away by the generosity of our volunteers and by the bravery and commitment of the participants in our programs.”

It’s evident that as the pageant has grown, the entire Miss Amazing community, from its participants to the volunteers, has grown as well, becoming a flourishing tribe of people.

“Over the years, we’ve been able to see how pageantry can be used to teach important self-advocacy skills like goal-setting, self-determination, and leadership to girls with disabilities,” Somer continued, touching base on the demographic hardships that these young women and girls endure through their lifetime. “Given that women with disabilities are much more likely to face sexual assault than women without disabilities and are less likely to be employed than men with disabilities, it’s especially important that they learn how to become excellent self-advocates from an early age.”

These kinds of statistics are what Somer and everyone else with the Miss Amazing organization are attempting to change.

“Moving forward, we’re on a mission to reach a far larger percentage of the 27 million girls and women with disabilities that live in the U.S.”

Courtesy of Mfinanga Photography and Jordan Somer

Over a decade after the first Miss Amazing, the pageant is still presenting girls and women of all sizes, shapes, and disabilities with the opportunities to show the world what they can do, breaking down stigmas one girl at a time.