Miss Iowa gaining national attention

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After three days of competition, with a platform of overcoming disabilities, a woman who found her passion on the stage was crowned Miss Iowa.

Nicole Kelly from Keokuk, Iowa received the title at the Miss Iowa Scholarship Pageant at the Adler Theater in Davenport on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

The 23-year-old attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is majoring in directing and theater management. She hopes to be a Broadway Stage Manager.

Kelly was born without her left forearm. Miss Iowa 2013 said as she grew up, she learned to overcome the stares and questions she got from curious people.

Kelly says she wants everyone to know that she is more than just a person with a disability.

"That is what I want to bring to the Miss America stage, the fact that it is every fiber of who I am but at the same time no part of who I am."

Her platform is "Overcoming Disabilities."  She hopes to encourage others to live life to the fullest.

"Live like you live and others will become comfortable with you and know that you are no different."

At the same time, she is embracing the opportunity to be the voice for others.  She grew up involved with the Shriner's Hospitals and plans to visit various hospitals as Miss Iowa.  She has been approached by other national organizations to be their spokesperson.

"How cool is that? It is so cool," She says.

Kelly is the 72nd woman to be titled Miss Iowa. The Miss America pageant will be held September 15 in Atlantic City.

Miss Muscatine, Isabella Blaine, was the first runner-up in the pageant. Second runner-up was Miss Greater Des Moines, Kaitlyn Cole, from Fort Dodge; third runner-up was Miss Johnson County, Taylor Wiebers from Clinton; fourth runner-up was Miss Liberty, Jessica Baker, from Coralville.