In modern life, more and more people are pursuing the perfection of appearance in an almost paranoid way. However, one girl is not perfect but has become the spokesperson of beauty. On June 8, Nicole Kelly crowned Miss Iowa as the new Miss Iowa. The beauty pageant winner is disabled and has only half of her left arm, but there is no hint of sadness in her bright smile.
"I do have a disability, and my pageant is about standing up and telling everyone that we may look different, talk different, act different, but we can all do great things." Growing up, Kelly didn't shy away from physical imperfection.
Little Kelly was born 23 years ago with only the back part of his left arm. Despite this, her parents doted on her and Kelly developed a lively and optimistic personality. When asked by her friends why she had only half of her left hand, Kelly would calmly joke, "A shark bit off the other half." Accustomed to being watched from an early age, she was bolder and braver than the average child, excelling at almost everything from baseball, a boys' sport, to dancing, a girl's favorite. "There's no 'no' in my world. There's nothing I'm afraid to try." In the process of experimenting, Kelly found his interest and passion -- the stage. "On stage, I'm able to hold my head up and be myself with confidence. Here, I allow people to stare at me enough."
Kelly graduated from the University of Nebraska in May 2012 with a degree in directing and theater management. She moved first to New York, where she interned at the Manhattan Theater on Broadway and then at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. She aspired to be a stage manager on Broadway one day.
Kelly never thought she would be on the pageant stage before. "I didn't see this path at all." Still, when she heard about the pageant, the girl who never refuses to try couldn't miss it either. "I thought, why not? So more people can hear my voice. I think I can do it and I think I'll enjoy it." In February 2013, Kelly began training intensively for the pageant.
In addition to following a strict diet, Kelly spent four months training everything from walking in heels and answering questions to her hair, clothes, poses, and even the size of her smile.
Kelly's efforts were not in vain. Throughout the three days of the competition, Kelly impressed the judges with her sunshine, optimism, and wit. At the talent show, she sang "Defying Gravity," a classic song from the musical "Witch's Prequel," in a soaring voice, and the audience seemed to hear her voice: "I'm going to defy gravity, and no one can stop me. I'm not gonna take orders just because everyone says it's supposed to be. There may be things I can't change, but how can I be sure unless I try!"
After being named Miss Iowa, Kelly was bombarded with requests for interviews from CNN and ABC, but she turned them down. "I want to show that disabled people are just like ordinary people," she said. "What ordinary people can do, disabled people can do.
Miss America has been held for 92 years. Thirteen years ago, Washy Gill, who was born without a left hand, was named Miss Iowa. She didn't win the finals, but she went on to have a successful career. She was recently awarded the Jefferson Award, which honors community and public service.
For Kelly, being "Miss America" or "Miss Iowa" is just a starting point. Her life has just begun.