Women with disabilities are often given short shrift in society, but this is not the case in Orem, Utah. Twenty inspiring women with disabilities fulfilled their childhood dreams by competing in the Miss Inspirational Pageant in March 2015. Beauty school volunteers from the Paul Mitchell beauty school in Provo made the women look stunning by doing their hair and makeup.
With the theme “The Secret is Out,” these women gave their inspiring histories to people who had no idea about their backgrounds and skills. Present to evaluate them were a number of young pageant queens. This included Miss Utah County and 2014’s Miss Orem.
These judges looked at a three-dimensional view of the contestants using a rubric to score them on such things as their interviews, poster displays, and evening gowns. Brenna Mills, Miss Teen Orem for 2013, was quoted in the Deseret News as saying “It was hard not to just give them all 10s.”
Orem senior Donna Brayton took home the Miss Inspirational crown after a tight race. TURN Community Services hosted the pageant at Orem’s SCERA Center for the Arts. This agency is the oldest nonprofit provider of disability services in Utah.
The pageant was made possible by the support of the community, which rallied around the event. Even the dresses and gowns were donated along with the judging services, emcee, food, flowers, and photography services. All of the contestants took home multiple gift bags.
The first Miss Inspirational Pageant was held in 2010, but TURN associate director Dave Hennessey says that they plan to hold this inspiring event annually in the future and will make it an Orem tradition.