Back in 2016, Kelsey Anthony’s caseworker told her and her mom, Cheryl, about the Miss Amazing competition in Pennsylvania. When Kelsey and Cheryl decided it would be a good fit for her, Kelsey competed in the event and won the Miss Amazing Pennsylvania Teen Queen competition.
Kelsey, a 20-year-old from Northampton, has a special knack for competing because not only did she win that year, she also won the 2017 and 2018 competitions in the same category. The competitions have been held at locations in Bethlehem and Easton.
Because of her three state wins, she also went to nationals for three years in Chicago. For the state competition, about 15 to 20 women signed up this year. For nationals, about 130 women participated.
According to its mission statement, the national Miss Amazing “provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment.”
Pennsylvania started its Miss Amazing event in 2016. Now, there are about 38 other states involved, Cheryl said.
Melanie Maresca, state director for Pennsylvania Miss Amazing, met Kelsey and Cheryl when she attended nationals last year.
“I was there because one of the individuals I take care of at work was crowned a queen in her age category. From my experience at nationals, I wanted to be more involved. Cheryl was very helpful with information, as I was new to Miss Amazing,” Maresca said.
Some of the aspects the judges scored on were formal wear, talent, interview and introduction. In 2018, Kelsey sang for the judges; in 2016 and 2017, she danced. Kelsey gets her dancing talent because she has been dancing with 3D Dance Studio in Northampton for 10 years and has been dancing for 15 years overall.
Maresca said, “I think the judges like her because she is very outspoken and has no fear to take on an activity or challenge. If she is scared or doesn’t know, she isn’t afraid to say so. I believe she has won because she is what Miss Amazing believes in: ‘Girls with disabilities can and do accomplish amazing things.’”
Kelsey’s favorite part of the judging is the interview and wearing her formal dress. She also likes getting her makeup done for competitions.
For Kelsey’s talent next year, she will be singing again - “Tale as Old as Time” from “Beauty and the Beast” - and her dance studio friends will be helping by being backup dancers. This year, they helped as well, dancing to a song from “Annie.”
The event will be held around March/April of 2019. Since Kelsey is now 20, she will move up to the Miss division. Cheryl said if she wins in the new category next year, they will attend nationals again. Cheryl said Kelsey loves the competition, and Kelsey added she likes to travel to the competitions, too.
For Kelsey, the excitement of the competition wins was about to be topped. In May/June of 2017, she was asked to be Miss Amazing Ambassador.
“I’m so interested in the program,” Kelsey said, when asked why she thought the organization picked her.
She still holds this title and will continue until she is ready to pass on the torch.
With this position, Kelsey must strive to promote awareness of Down syndrome and to conduct community service projects. On Aug. 21, Kelsey and her mom delivered backpacks filled with supplies to students at Lehigh Parkway Elementary School in Allentown.
“For a couple months, we collected [backpacks] - about 200 of them - and some school supplies, and [Kelsey] was invited to [the school’s] back-to-school night,” Cheryl said.
Friends and family - “and even people who didn’t know us,” Cheryl said - helped the cause by donating the backpacks and school supplies. Also, change that Kelsey and her mom saved from bake sales as fundraisers went to purchase additional backpacks and supplies.
The students who received the backpacks and school supplies were “happy and excited,” Kelsey said, adding the boys and girls were all “so cute” when they would find their favorite characters on the backpacks and try them on.
“I like giving back,” Kelsey said.
Last year’s community service project was collecting and donating toiletries for local women’s shelters and food banks. More than 500 bags were made, Cheryl said. They are also collecting more toiletry items again for another community service project. Right now, they have about 90 bags, Cheryl said.
Kelsey gave a big “yes” when asked if she wanted to continue to be Miss Amazing Ambassador next year.
“She has not been limited or led to believe she can’t,” Maresca said. “Her parents are always on the go with events, fairs, community projects, etc. She has an amazing role model in her parents. Her mom is unstoppable - and I believe she is mirroring what she is seeing.”
Make sure you look for Kelsey at the borough’s parade. On Oct. 18, she will be participating in the Northampton Jack Frost Parade with her fellow dancers from the studio.
Kelsey will also be riding in a limousine. Northampton Exchange Club offered Kelsey the opportunity to be the parade’s queen, and she quickly accepted with excitement.
For updates, competition results, fundraiser help and community service project information, follow Kelsey on her Facebook page at Teen Crabby Patty/PA Miss Amazing.