The evolution of beauty pageants

Beauty pageants are no longer just a space for able- bodied individuals to display their good looks to the world.

As early as 1970, pageants like Miss Wheelchair America recognized the accomplishments of women who utilize wheelchairs.

Its website lists 31 states currently active in the Miss Wheelchair America Program where the winner is a titleholder for a year.

The winner possesses good communication skills as they fulfill the requirements of Miss Wheelchair America.

These requirements include traveling within their state and to the national Miss Wheelchair America pageant and making appearances to raise public awareness so that all citizens can live their lives with meaning and purpose.
In 2003, future Miss Iowa USA 2008 winner Abbey Curran, who was born with cerebral palsy, wanted to break down the barriers in the lives of others. She started the Miss You Can Do It pageant for individuals with special needs and challenges.

Their website states that contestants are girls and women ages 5 to 25 and for one night a year they compete in the categories of private interview, casual wear, evening wear, on stage question, photogenic, people’s choice and congeniality.

Every contestant goes home with the experience of a lifetime and a trophy, crown and the opportunity to meet both Snow White and Cinderella on pageant day.

In November 2007, Jordan Somer took insights gained from working with individuals with disabilities in the Special Olympics and held the inaugural Miss Amazing pageant. Somer’s vision later became her passion and career.
She wanted to provide a place for young girls and women with disabilities to strive to be their best.

Miss Amazing’s website states that any girl or woman who is considered to have a disability according to government laws and acts is eligible to compete in a Miss Amazing pageant.

Participants ages of 5 to 35 can compete in the categories of rising star, preteen, junior teen, teen, junior miss, miss and senior miss.

To be eligible to compete in the Miss Amazing pageant, each participant must donate five cans of food that will be donated to charity.

The four areas of competition are interview, introduction, evening wear and talent showcase.

One individual from each category is crowned queen and represents their state for a year.

Contestants from 25 states are eligible to compete in the Miss Amazing pageant.

Southern Miss student Savannah Holsomback, a senior French and history double major, currently serves as Mississippi’s state director of the Miss Amazing pageant where she plans, organizes and recruits participants, volunteers and sponsors.

While Holsomback was in the womb, an amniotic fluid band was wrapped around her right arm resulting in her being born without it.

Like Somers, Holsomback has competed in other pageant systems and wanted to give back to others what she gained from them in order to help them grow into stronger individuals.
It takes a special group of people to care so much about helping others reach their full potential.

If you or someone you know embodies this vision visit where you can apply to be a volunteer, state director or make a donation.