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New Miss Iowa Winner Doesn’t Let Handicap Stop Her From Pageant Glory

Nicole Kelly

Miss Iowa is definitely the whole package.

Nicole Kelly, who was born without a left forearm, was crowned Miss Iowa last weekend. She will now go on to compete in the Miss America pageant in September.

Kelly, 23, hopes to use her new position as a vehicle to help other people who may not appear to be like everyone else. She says she’s now more than comfortable in her own skin:

As I grew up I learned to counterbalance the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give into, ‘no.’ This means that I tried everything. From baseball, to dance, to diving — there’s nothing I would not try. I found my passion within a world where I was giving people permission to stare: the stage.”

Kelly wowed the crowd during the pageant by singing ‘Defying Gravity’ from the show ‘Wicked.’ She studied theater and hopes to one day work on Broadway.

Nicole Kelly

Kelly knows all eyes will be on her as she moves on to the prestigious Miss America pageant, saying, “You have to really see that opportunity as, yes, life is changing now, what are you going to do with it.”

From the sound of it, it seems like she’s going to do quite a lot.


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