Meet Miss Bothell
It’s go time for women, as we collectively rock medicine, education, the arts, and business with our women-strong wisdom, compassion and collaboration. It’s our job to stick together and lift each other up. Supporting community members and helping woman succeed in their goals is one way Beauty in the Blink gives back. I am SO excited to be sponsoring Janae Gutow on her journey to become Miss America. She will be competing in the Miss Washington USA Pageant as Miss Bothell. Check out her story below and stay tuned for more exciting events!
“Hello friends, family and supporters!
I will have the opportunity to compete in the Miss Washington pageant. The Miss Washington pageant is the preliminary for Miss USA which is a FOX televised event and I need your support! If you're imagining Toddlers and Tiaras, DONT. This pageant is intended to stress good morals, values, hard work and the importance of communication and positive role models.
I was compelled to compete in this pageant because the qualities listed above are qualities I try to reflect in my day to day life. I am a professional special needs nanny as well as a hobbyist writer, performer and aspiring entrepreneur. A huge part of the pageant is your platform aka a cause you are passionate about supporting. My platform is awareness and inclusivity in the special needs community. Here is why: When I was freshly nineteen years old I did something that was one part adventurous and two parts insane. I moved to Los Angeles California by myself, to pursue a live-in nanny job with a woman I had never met, in a state that I had never been to. Some people thought I was nuts (including myself at times) but this was no ordinary nanny position this was a special needs position and something about this family called me to action. At this point in time I had never nannied anyone with disabilities before, so every aspect of this journey was completely foreign territory.
Upon arriving to my new home in LA with my life in 5 suitcases and a very light wallet I was greeted by one of the brightest lights I've ever had the honor of knowing. His name was Culver. Culver was special and no I'm not describing his disability when I say special I’m describing his exuberant smile, his undiluted enthusiasm to meet me, the playfulness and joy in his eyes, the specialness of his heart. We as a human race live in a world filled with coldness, disconnect and a stoic regard towards others. So, to meet Culver and be squeezed to death by his embrace and pure happiness was so refreshing.
Culver was 16 and diagnosed with Downs Syndrome but in my time working with him the Downs Syndrome aspect fell away in my mind and all I knew was Culver and Culver changed my life. Throughout my time living in his home, he restored so much in me that I didn't know I was missing. He returned my childlike enthusiasm towards life. He returned the joy I have just to be alive and waking up in the morning. He taught me more than anything I could've ever learned in school.
He taught me about passion, love, empathy, emotions and life. I was starting to evolve into a much wiser nineteen year old than I had been before and I owe it to him. Despite Culver's fun loving ways he suffered a lot of adversity. He struggled socially and academically at school. He had no friends/peers to connect with or hangout with. People often looked down on him or didn't want to be around him. He lacked emotional and behavioral control.
As much as that boy smiled and laughed, there were nights when he would hug me and cry and NONE of that adversity is because of him. Those challenges are because our society does not do what it should to create a wealth of knowledge and awareness about people with disabilities. Our people do not create inclusive environments for those with special needs to the degree that they should.
Part of why I am competing to be Miss Washington is to fight for the Culvers. I want every single person with special needs to know that they belong and that they are valued, because they are. If one boy changed my teenage self and helped me become the woman I am today, imagine how much positive change could occur once we create a space of openness and understanding for those with disabilities.
Like I stated before, today everyone is cold, disconnected and lacking in emotion. Culver was the opposite of that and most of those with special needs are, because they see life through a different perspective.
Lets restore EVERYONES childlike enthusiasm. Lets restore EVERYONES joy towards life. Lets have our children learn about empathy, love and gratitude and lets be taught by those who know these things best; the special needs community. Today I still work with children with special needs and I feel rewarded everyday. As potential Miss Washington USA I can promise that the special needs community will have a voice through me and that voice will be heard loud and clear. My long term goals include promoting inclusive classrooms, creating inclusive arts programs for those with special needs and becoming a published author. Down the road I intend to be a successful business owner and well known special needs advocate. Through achieving these goals I hope to enlighten the public and future generations in more ways than one. When it comes to competing in this pageant (and potentially winning) I see a great start to fulfilling these dreams!”