Sunday , August 09, 2015 - 8:00 AM
There she is, Miss Amazing National Preteen Queen.
The title is a mouthful for young Brianna Heim but it is hers nevertheless, complete with tiara, rhinestone sash and a shiny trophy.
This 10-year-old Top of Utah resident snagged that crown at the recent 2015 Miss Amazing Pageant in Los Angeles, a competition for girls and women ages 5 and up with disabilities.
Brianna — named earlier this year as Utah’s Miss Amazing Preteen Queen — has a rare disorder called glutaric acidemia type 1, which affects her speech and motor skills.
“(The pageant) is a nice place for these girls to go and be themselves and it doesn’t matter what your disability is,” said Brianna’s mother Wendy Heim, whose family lives on Hill Air Force Base.
She added, “So what if you have a walker? Rock it and just do your thing. Don’t let it get you down that you’re different from anyone else.”
Brianna and her skilled companion dog Emily, a yellow Labrador retriever/golden retriever cross, were the subject of a Standard-Examiner feature story in April.
Although Emily did accompany her Utah fifth-grader to California, the service dog did not take part in the competition. Instead, Emily was there cheering Brianna on from the audience —- in between napping, Heim said — and even got her own fancy duds to wear.
“She had a purple leash and collar on that matched Bri’s dress she wore the day of the pageant,” Heim said.
As the national preteen queen for the upcoming year, Brianna is an ambassador of sorts for the Miss Amazing enterprise and helps raise awareness that people with disabilities are capable and confident, said Abigail Brady, former director of Utah’s Miss Amazing pageant and a South Jordan resident.
“(Brianna) just has such a bubbly personality and she presents herself in such a confident way, and she has one of the biggest hearts I know,” Brady said, adding, the 10-year-old is “not afraid to be herself.”
The national pageant included a personal interview, a speaking event (Brianna participated with the aid of her iPad), an evening wear walk and a talent performance. Brianna’s talent was a magic act, making a flower grow in a flower pot, her mother said.
While in California in late July, Brianna, her mother and her father Scott also visited Hollywood and attended the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics.
Miss Amazing is an encouraging and positive experience that builds girls’ self-confidence and social skills, Heim said.
“Win or lose, we just go and have fun with it,” she said.
And besides, she said, Brianna loves to get dressed up and also got a chance to wear a little makeup — “any 10-year-old wants that.”
All six division winners of Utah’s pageant attended the national event in Los Angeles, including Samantha Kunz of Bountiful, the Miss winner in the 24-27-year-old division, and Elizabeth Leatham of Logan, the Senior Miss winne in the 28-35-year-old division.
Contact reporter Becky Cairns at 801-625-4276 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @bccairns or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SEbeckycairns.
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