Forget all your prejudiced thoughts on beauty pageants. Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo, even the Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, Miss USA et al don’t even come close to this pageant.
It is called ‘Miss You Can Do It’ and it was started 10 years ago by former Miss Iowa and Former Miss USA contender Abbey Curran. On July 27, 2013, the pageant will celebrate it’s 10th annual event and because of its unique message and qualities within the beauty pageant system it became the subject of a documentary called ‘Miss You Can Do it’ which aired on HBO Monday, June 24.
Abbey made headlines on 2008 becoming the first woman with a disability—cerebral palsy—to compete in the Miss USA pageant. She was crowned Miss Iowa, but that’s as far as she got in the Miss USA system. But her own personal journey wasn’t done.
The pageant idea started when Curran’s friend with severe cerebral palsy said her parents wouldn’t let her enter a pageant because they feared everyone would laugh at her. Curran rounded up her family and friends, and the Miss You Can Do It pageant was born. It is held in Illinois. In the video below where Abbey is interviewed by Fox, she talks about how in the first year they would’ve been happy with the turn out if only 10 people entered. 10 years later, the pageant has a waiting list!
Sometimes not winning something you think is going to be the best thing ever, is a huge blessing in disguise because it allows you to really reach your full potential.
As for Miss You Can Do It, Abbey has big plans for its future. “As soon as I get a sponsor, I want this thing to be the next Miss USA pageant,” she said. “I want people to be tuning in to see the live pageant of Miss You Can Do It 2014, and I’d also like it in all different states.”
“This pageant blows every preconceived notion out of the water about what a pageant could and should be about. This one is about empowering these little girls, about celebrating what is right about them; it’s about celebrating their beauty on the inside.” says director Ron Davis.
As well as being a beauty pageant, MYCDI is an opportune time for parents and families of kids with disabilities to gather together and talk to others going through the same struggles. “The meaning of disabled is not having any power,” one of the girls, Teyanna, wrote in an essay. “But I have the power to do anything I am willing to try. That makes me able.”