After volunteering with the Special Olympics, Jordan Somer of Brooklyn, NY founded Miss Amazing when she was 13 years old. The former beauty pageant competitor drew on her experiences to start a movement for people with disabilities to realize their abilities on and off the stage. After staging her first pageant in 2007, Jordan realized the impact Miss Amazing could make in her community and beyond.
Miss Amazing provides girls and women with disabilities the opportunities to build self-confidence in a supportive environment. This new pageant circuit is changing the lives of girls and women with disabilities and highlighting the numerous abilities they bring to the table.
Now a full-time student at New York University, Jordan has worked tirelessly in her time outside of class to spread the word about Miss Amazing. Eight years since her work began, there are pageants in more than 25 states, including a season-ending national pageant. Jordan volunteers her time fundraising, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, and seeking sponsors nationwide.
Jordan helps participants gain self-confidence by teaching them life skills through the interview, introduction, evening wear and talent competitions. “What began as my way to share my experiences with girls with disabilities has become my passion and future career,” she says.
There is no fee to compete in the pageants, other than a donation of five cans of food for local shelters. She encourages participants to give back, as proceeds from the pageant are given back to the community. To date, the pageant has raised more than $50,000 and 750 pounds of food.