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personal advice ● beyond the spotlight By Megan Alexander All Things Amazing Jordan Somer has taken pageantry to a whole new level with her Miss Amazing Pageant that helps young women with disabilities emphasize their abilities T he purpose of this installment of Beyond the Spotlight is to honor and highlight pageant par- ticipants who are going “above and beyond” to better mankind, and are so much more than a pretty face. Jordan Somer is a wonderful example of all this and more. She is the founder and Executive Pro- ducer of the “Miss Amazing Pageant”, a program that cel- ebrates the abilities of women and girls with disabilities. Here is her story. MISS AMAZING PAGEANT FOUNDER: JORDAN SOMER talk—all have a place here.” HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS Girls and women ages 5 through 35 can participate in the Miss Amazing Pageants. There are six main age divi- Jordan was 13-years old when she held the first Miss sions and a division for girls ages 5 through 9 that offer an Amazing Pageant. She was a returning volunteer at the Ne- abbreviated experience. All participants take part in three braska Special Olympics from the age of 12 and had been required skill areas: interview, introduction and evening competing in pageants since age 7. Being so young, she wear. Each of the skill areas can give the girls the op- didn’t exactly realize how much pageantry could portunity to celebrate their abilities instead of offer girls and women with disabilities. Jordan their disabilities and to also improve conver- simply knew that she enjoyed pageants and sation and social skills. The competition Every thought that girls with disabilities should also offers an optional talent showcase girl at the have access to the same experience. where the participants can show off Miss Amazing pageant “Every girl at the Miss Amazing their unique talents. All participants receives a crown pageant receives a crown because every receive a crown and trophy for their because every girl girl to an extent, in her own way, is accomplishments and six queens are Miss Amazing just by participating in selected from the six main age divi- to an extent, the event and really pushing her limits,” sions to represent their states through- in her own way, said Jordan of her Miss Amazing pag- out the year and gain access to even is Miss eant, which is just for girls with physical more leadership opportunities. Amazing... and mental disabilities. BEING AMAZING IS CONTAGIOUS “We have participants who have Down The idea for the Miss Amazing Pageant was Syndrome,” Jordan added passionately. “We have born out of a community service project that Jordan got participants who have autism, high-functioning and low- involved with while competing in the National American functioning. We have participants that don’t use words to MEET MISS AMAZING “ “ 66 PAGEANTRY