OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KSNT) — A local woman is helping girls and women grow through pageants. But it’s not just any pageant, it’s one for girls and women with disabilities.
On a Sunday afternoon, inside a small coffee shop in Overland Park, a group of girls is singing, practicing speeches and more.
They are preparing for the Kansas Miss Amazing pageant. It’s a national pageant for girls and women with disabilities.
Miss Amazing is new to the state, thanks to Overbrook woman Michelle Roberts. Roberts brought the pageant here after seeing other girls walking around with Miss Amazing sashes at a 2018 Kansas City Fashion Week event. She started doing research and after learning there wasn’t a chapter in the Sunflower state, she started one.
“I was excited and sent them a message and asked, ‘how can I volunteer?’,” Roberts said. “‘How can I get involved?’ Their response was, ‘we don’t even have a program in Kansas.’ So I guess that’s how I became the director. Because if there was going to be a program someone had to start it up.”
From there, Roberts got to work. She spent her days scouting out accessible locations for every ability, speaking with sponsors and getting the word out there that the pageant was coming to Kansas.
In March of 2019, the first Kansas Miss Amazing pageant was held in Emporia at the Emporia Arts Center.
Something different about Roberts and the connect she has to the girls, she’s in part just like them. Roberts has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, something she was born with. It’s a disease that weakens muscles, sometimes making things like walking and lifting difficult. However, she said it’s not something she suffers from.
“That’s something that I really, as a disabled person, want to promote,” Roberts said. “Which is probably one of the reasons I do the Miss Amazing event. I want people to understand that just because you have a disability you’re not suffering. Your life is not awful.”
This March will be the second year for the Kansas Miss Amazing pageant. Within the year, Michelle and the pageant have worked to help make the girls and women better versions of themselves, showing a disability won’t hold them back.
“I’ve watched girls who couldn’t speak become girls who can’t stop speaking now,” Roberts said. “I’ve seen girls who were so uncomfortable become so comfortable with themselves that they can now present themselves in a way that they’ve never been able to present themselves. So it’s a change that I think our state deserves and needs. A lot of people thrive from it.”
The Kansas Miss Amazing pageant will be at Emporia High School on March 7 starting at 4 p.m. There are still tickets available, as well as open spots for anyone who wants to compete.
KSNT News reporter McKenzi Davis will also be at the pageant this year. She will be the emcee for the second time. KSNT News morning reporter James Ryan will also be a judge.
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