By: Christine Souders
Keokuk's Nicole Kelly is the new Miss Iowa, but she's not your typical beauty queen.
Nicole Kelly was born without a left forearm, and she tells us, winning the title is her chance to speak out for girls struggling with being different.
"It was shocking and overwhelming just like that your life changes," said Miss Iowa Nicole Kelly who sat down with CBS 4 News for her first 1st TV interview, after winning Saturday Night.
She first discovered her voice and love for the stage in theatre.
"I found I could tell people it was acceptable to stare. It was the place that was kind of an outlet for me, a place I could stand up and be myself, and say here I am, and I'm confident in myself."
But the young beauty said her real passion is to help others like her find their spotlight, and the pageant world seemed like the perfect opportunity.
"Stepping up and saying, we may look different, we may say things differently, and do things differently, but we're doing it right."
She got her shining moment, winning Miss Iowa 2013, and her parents said they couldn't be more proud.
"She defies all of it. There's nothing she can't do. I think it's great she's going to be able to prove that and encourage others that may have a disability or some sort of challenge."
Now, Kelly is taking her platform to Septembers' Miss America pageant.
Not only representing Iowa, but representing thousands overcoming obstacles because of their disabilities.
"You have to really see that opportunity as, yes, life is changing now, what are you going to do with it."
You can show your support for Nicole Kelly by liking the Miss Iowa Facebook page.