"I found I could tell people it was acceptable to stare," Fox News quoted Kelly, 22, of Keokuk as saying. "It was the place that was kind of an outlet for me, a place I could stand up and be myself, and say here I am, and I'm confident in myself."
Kelly, who was crowned Miss Iowa this past weekend in Davenport, will compete in the Miss America Pageant in September in Atlantic City, N.J.
The Quad City Times reported Kelly attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is majoring in directing and theater management. Kelly, the newspaper said, has a career goal of reaching Broadway.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]