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Illinois State University Speaker Series: Nicole Kelly
Student Access and Accommodation Services Presents: Nicole Kelly
6 p.m. Social Hour
7 p.m. Presentation
Prairie Room, Bone Student Center
She made history as one of the first Miss America contestants to ever compete with a physical disability. Now Nicole Kelly empowers young people living with a physical disability to understand and accept their difference and educates people on the value of inclusion.
As a former Miss Iowa winner and Miss America Pageant competitor, Nicole inspires audiences to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential no matter the obstacle or perceived disadvantage. Born without a left forearm, she is one of only a few pageant contestants with a physical disability to vie for the crown. Since then, she has educated audiences around the country to understand that anyone living with a physical difference can and should do anything they want.
Nicole is also an ambassador for CoApt, which manufactures bionic limbs that allow users to control their prostheses with their thoughts, and an ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger’s new adaptive clothing line designed for people with disabilities. She hosts a YouTube show about, by, and for the disabled called Loud & Proud.
In a world of media pressures and narrow constructs of beauty, this not-your-average-beauty-queen shares a heartfelt message—“I’m different—and that is beautiful” (This is an extremely important difference from “I am no different”)—and inspires others to have that same level of confidence in all that they do. A passionate advocate for diversity, she boldly encourages audiences to embrace their differences and start a fearless journey toward self-acceptance.
The talk is part of the Speaker Series at Illinois State University. The Illinois State University Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.