If you have ever met Sommer Kitts, what I’m about to tell you will come as little to no surprise. And, if you’ve been on Bona Vista’s social media in the past couple of weeks, you already know part of this story. She is the QUEEN! That’s right. She took her outgoing personality to the stage, and won the title of Miss Amazing Junior Miss in Lafayette a couple of weekends ago.
Now, if you think that title sounds made up because I think she’s amazing… you’re wrong. She has the tiara and sash to prove it! The Miss Amazing pageant hopes to break down barriers for females with disabilities. According to their organization’s web site, “Research shows that girls and women with disabilities regularly face a harmful ‘double-dose’ of stereotypes associated with two parts of their identity: being female and having a disability.
“As a result of these widely held myths about their value, the self-esteem of girls and women with disabilities remains significantly lower than that of girls and women without disabilities, and our communities miss out on the contributions that girls and women with disabilities are fully capable of offering.”
I could not agree more. I’ve tried to introduce you to some of my friends with different abilities in previous articles. I think it’s pretty easy to see that if they didn’t have opportunities like this, our community would be missing out! If you don’t remember hearing about any of my friends, you need to go back and re-read. Alas, I digress.
If you have never met Sommer, you are in for a treat! Here’s a very brief background: She is 20 years old, works at the YMCA two mornings a week as a greeter and participates at Bona Vista in the AIM program two days a week. She is totally boy crazy, will dance anywhere or anytime (ballet, Zumba, hip hop or anything else you come up with), enjoys coloring, is obsessed with Elvis, and loves her dog and her mom, Beth (not in that order… most days). She’s on the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Disability Issues (shout out to the Mayor. He’s a member of Sommer’s fan club!). Oh, and she has Down Syndrome. You didn’t think I’d really mention that first, did you? Good. It’s about the last thing to know when getting to know Sommer.
Sommer decided to do the pageant because “It doesn’t matter what color we are or what disability we have, we are all beautiful on the inside.” And, if you think she came up with that answer for the interview portion of the pageant, you are mistaken. During that portion, she told the judges how boy crazy she is, how she’s single and ready to mingle and that she is a huge fan of Elvis. What you see is what you get with Sommer. She doesn’t care if you’re the waiter at a restaurant, the Mayor of the town she lives in or a judge in a pageant she wants to win, she’s going to treat you the same and tell you ALL of the information she knows at the time. She doesn’t know a stranger – a girl after my own heart!
The interview portion of the event took place during hair and makeup. The talent portion of the competition came next. I mentioned earlier how much Sommer likes to dance, so you can imagine what she chose for her talent – dance. And, girl got down! Literally. She did the splits at the end! There is video, which obviously I can’t show you in the newspaper so you’ll just have to trust me… she did awesome!
After the talent portion of the night, came the evening gown competition. Sommer’s dress was “really pretty silver, blue and I looked good in it,” she said. And, that statement sums up how Sommer looked at the competition. It was about what made her feel good, boosted her confidence and helped her succeed. “It wasn’t really about winning or losing, but about having fun and doing what I love,” she said. “But, I needed to win – for myself!”
And win she did! With her victory comes a shot at the National title in August during a competition that will take place in Chicago. She’s not sure what the adventure will hold, but she is ready! “I’m already planning my talent song, working on getting sponsors and doing good things while I’m Miss Amazing Junior Miss,” she said. That last part won’t be hard, though. To know Sommer is to love her.
So, does she have any haters? “I have so many people who love me, that if people don’t like me because they don’t really know me… it doesn’t really matter,” she said. “I’m confident, and I like being me.” Don’t we all wish we were as confident? I’m pretty sure we could learn some valuable lessons from The Queen.
Until next time… keep a good view on life!