It’s hard to say who was more amazed by Iowa’s first-ever Miss Amazing pageant. The winners. Or their proud folks.
“I didn’t think she’d get up in front of everybody,” Julie Christensen said about her daughter, Kara, age 13. “We found she actually likes to be on stage. She was a completely different person.”
Kara Christensen of Council Bluffs was crowned Miss Amazing in the Junior Teen category.
Miss Amazing is a pageant for girls and young women with disabilities. I wrote a column on it Saturday.
The pageant started in Nebraska in 2007 and has spread to some two dozen states. Iowa held its first Miss Amazing contest at Iowa Western Community College on Saturday. The pageant drew 54 contestants from across the state. Their ages ranged from 4 to 49.
Each contestant got to take home a crown and the experience of getting up in front of a big crowd. “Winners” were crowned in six age categories and they will compete at the Miss Amazing nationals contest held in Omaha over Labor Day Weekend.
The winners included three young women who live in the same Sioux City duplex run by a nonprofit that helps them live independently. Marjean Nicholls drove a van with five housemates to Council Bluffs on Saturday.
Nicholls said the young women were treated “just absolutely spectacular” with free makeup and hairstyling,dinner and volunteers who helped them and escorted them onto the stage.
“It was just absolutely great,” Nicholls said.
Pageant director Maddie Lorenzen, a Millard North senior, said the pageant drew an audience of 300 and raised over $5,000. Proceeds will, in part, be divided among all the contestants, who are to donate the money to a charity of their choice.
Judges’ criteria was simple: Whoever made them smile or left the biggest impression.
Contestants participated according to age. Judges named a “Miss Amazing” for each age group. They are:
* Preteen: Bella Van Gorp, 11, of Pella.
* Junior Teen: Kara Christensen, 13 in Council Bluffs.
* Teen: Samantha Hudgens, 19, Sioux City.
* Junior Miss: Molly Murphy, 23, Sioux City.
* Miss: Allison Bruneau, 25, Sioux City.
* Senior Miss: Erin Terrill, age 37, of Hiawatha.