An Omaha native wins big at the Miss Nebraska pageant, but it’s what she's doing off stage that's made her stand out.
Ellie Lorenzen, a college senior, won the top spot Sunday night at the Rose Theater. She is a senior at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri and a Millard North graduate.
In April, the beauty queen stepped off stage and organized the first "Miss Amazing Pageant" in Missouri. It’s a pageant for girls and women with disabilities.
“Pageants have a pretty bad reputation from “Toddlers and Tiaras” and now Honey Boo Boo and this is finally giving pageants a positive image,” says Lorenzen.
Lorenzen says her 27-year-old brother, Jordan, who is mentally disabled helped inspire her.
“He doesn't get the opportunity to go to college to travel to hang out with his friends all the time. So when I see that it inspires me to live my life to the fullest and be the best that I can be.”
For the pageant in Missouri, Lorenzen brought in hair and makeup artists for more than forty contestants ranging in ages from five to fifty-five. The contestants then had their moment on stage for a personal introduction, interview, and evening ware.
The 21-year-old says the even increases the confidence and self-esteem of the women and girls who participate.
“It’s to make them feel beautiful because they don't always feel that way. So this gives them the chance to feel like a princess and steal the spotlight,” says Lorenzen.
Lorenzen plans to hold the event again next year. And it’s inspired her younger sister to organize Iowa's first "Miss Amazing Pageant" at Iowa Western Community College.
Lorenzen will go on to compete in the Miss USA pageant in June.