Newly crowned Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison is rejoicing not only in her win last weekend, but also from the huge show of support she's received in its wake.
The 20-year-old, who has diagnosed with diabetes in 2012, made the brave decision to wear her insulin pump during the bikini competition portion of the pageant, telling E! News that she believes beauty is more than one-dimensional.
"What I really want people to know is whatever our differences are, it does make you look beautiful," she said. "It makes you look unique, and should be celebrated, rather than thought of as a flaw."
I don't think we can escape what the media describes as beauty, but I'd like to contribute to the diversity of beauty in the media."
Sandison's message was heard loud and clear in the social media universe, with thousands of people turning to Twitter to share their stories and pictures under the hashtag #ShowMeYourPump.
In a personal blog post, Sandison wrote that her decision to wear an insulin pump on stage was inspired by another famous pageant winner, Miss America Nicole Johnson.
"The media often tells us this lie: if your appearance deviates in any way from cover girls, movie stars, super models, etc., it is a flaw and something is wrong with you," she said. "Well, guess what? Miss America 1999 has an insulin pump, and it doesn’t make her any less beautiful. In fact, in my mind, it enhances her beauty! So, a year after I was diagnosed, I got a pump. It helped me get even better control of my diabetes, and made my life SO much easier. Working up the confidence to compete with it was an entirely different journey, but this summer at Miss Idaho 2014, I finally did it."
Sandison adds that she's been overwhelmed and amazed by the support online and hopes to continue during her tenure as Miss Idaho to raise awareness about diabetes.
"I am overwhelmed with hearing how many lives have been touched by me simply wearing my pump on stage," she wrote. "It means so much to me, and I hope I can touch many more during my year as Miss Idaho."
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