When Grace Kohlnhofer decided that she wanted to participate in Miss Amazing, she had a goal in mind.

“She wanted to show people that even though there are people affected with some sort of disability, they can follow their dreams and reach their goals just like anyone else," Kohlnhofer’s mom, Carla Kohlnhofer shared with the Republican Eagle. "These individuals may have a harder time but with determination and a positive attitude anything is possible. Down syndrome will not stop Grace Kohlnhofer from doing all she can to have a meaningful life.”

Kohlnhofer, 17, from Goodhue, introduced herself in her Miss Amazing bio, writing: “I live on a pig farm and have three sisters. I love to dance, sing, bowl and make people laugh.”

In April, Kohlnhofer was crowned Minnesota’s Miss Amazing Teen Queen. During the first weekend of August, Kohlnhofer participated in the national pageant held in Chicago.

The Miss Amazing organization began in Omaha, Neb., in 2007 when Jordan Somer, then 13, created a pageant that was accessible for women of all abilities. Now 30 states hold annual pageants. According to the Miss Amazing website, 1,700 girls and women with a disability have participated in a pageant.

There are six groups in Miss Amazing, from “Preteen Queen” to “Senior Miss Queen.” Minnesota’s crowned women participated in the national competition, along with about 150 other girls and women from around the country.

“We had a great time, it was exhausting,” recounted Carla Kohlnhofer.

Nationals incorporated three days full of events, including dance parties, participant interviews, galas, pajama parties, a movie night and passion project presentations.

Passion projects are a time for participants to take the stage and perform or talk about something that they are interested in. The 2019 projects ranged from stand-up comedy to drawing and cheerleading. Kohlnhofer danced for her presentation.

Kohlnhofer has been dancing since second grade and loves numerous styles, including hip hop, ballet and kick lines. She danced to “Eastside” in Minnesota and as well as nationals and incorporated moves from all three styles of dance.

Kohlnhofer reflected after returning to Goodhue that she became more confident after dancing in front of an audience that cheered during and after her routine.

Though Kohlnhofer did not capture the national Miss Amazing crown, she said that she now has something to strive for next year. And, even though she did not win, Kohlnhofer said that she had a good time and enjoyed making new friends.

Kohlnhofer’s goals for national Miss Amazing were encapsulated perfectly when she was first introduced to the crowd in Chicago:

“I love to sing, dance and fashion. I want to follow my dreams, meet new people, and have fun. I love you guys. I love you family.”

For more information about Miss Amazing, visit http://mn.missamazing.org.