On Saturday, the Miss Iowa pageant crowned 23-year-old Nicole Kelly, a University of Nebraska graduate who was born without a left forearm, Fox News reported Monday.
According to her Miss Iowa bio, the Keokuk, Iowa., native said that she has gotten used to the stares that often come with her disability.
As I grew older, I learned to offset the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give in to "No." This meant that I tried everything! From baseball, to dance to diving, there was nothing I would not try. I found my passion within a world where I was giving people permission to stare…the stage.
Kelly has also said that competing in pageants allows her to be comfortable with herself.
“I found I could tell people it was acceptable to stare. 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," she said.