Passion and empowerment take center stage in Naperville at Miss Amazing 

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Passion and celebration were the theme this past Saturday at the Illinois Miss Amazing Pageant at the Center Stage Theater in Naperville.  Thirty-three contestants took the stage to break down stereotypes and empower girls and women. 

Passion presentations give opportunity 

“A passion presentation is something that they are passionate about, so it can range from showing us how they shoot hoops to sing, dance, cheer, recite a song, showcase their photography or a video.  So it’s very diverse and unique, but a great opportunity to give a platform for them to show that to the community,” said executive committee member Erin McCarthy.  

One of the contestants competing at the junior level, Kaleena Derrick, credits Miss Amazing for helping her improve her self-confidence and communication skills.  Her passion project was the Disturbed cover of The Sound of Silence.

“I just wanna inspire people with disabilities to express themselves.  Like saying there’s, like, no boundaries or limits on what you can and cannot do, it’s limitless,” said Derrick.  

Miss Amazing builds confidence

Contestants not only got the chance to show off their talents but also enjoyed a full day of fun and friendship.  The pageant is designed to provide opportunities for girls and women aged five to 35 with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem.

“Once they leave this weekend’s event, they are able to go back into their respective communities and utilize that title to go and speak with their local government, to speak with schools and libraries, so they’re given a really great platform once they leave here,” said McCarthy. 

Jr Teen Queen pays it forward

  One of the judges at the show, Margot Knowlton, was a Jr Teen Queen at both the Illinois and National levels.  She continues to stay involved with Miss Amazing, crediting it for the person she is today.  

“I always loved Miss Amazing for a very long time and I feel like it’s been a part of me for a very long time.  And I feel I’m with a team with experience who are dedicated,” said Knowlton.  

llinois Miss Amazing division representatives will continue on to The National Miss Amazing Summit in Rosemont at the end of July. For Naperville News 17, I’m Matt Lauterbach.  

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