Last weekend, our new Miss New York 2017 was crowned. More than 180 contestants took the stage, vying for the title and the coveted crown. In the end, only one walked away with the crown and the chance to compete at Miss USA, but one contestant’s story touched the hearts of everyone around.
22-year-old Janine Santos represented the city of Bronx at the Miss New York USA 2017 pageant last weekend. Like any other contestant, Santos had a dream and a passion for winning the title. Unlike the other contestants, however, Santos suffers from Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy.
The beauty queen does not let her disability define her. She works as a professional model for Bronx Fashion Week. She is also a singer and a make-up artist.
To raise money for her pageant fees, Santos started a GoFundMe page. She was able to raise over $1,100 in order to help her compete. (Read: 8 Ways to Save on Pageant Expenses)
“My main goal is to prove to other young women out there with disabilities that it is okay to be different and still slay,” said Santos on her GoFundMe page.
Santos used crutches to walk across the stage during the competition. She wore a pink high-low evening gown with a beaded bodice.
In the end, Santos did not walk away with the crown, but she made an impact and will forever be an inspiration to young women with disabilities like hers. Santos was voted Miss Amity by her fellow contestants. Miss Amity is chosen by the contestants and represents the woman who was the friendliest and made the pageant experience the most enjoyable.
“This year’s pageant was a stepping stone to something greater and to prepare me for what is to come, “ said Santos in a Facebook post. “You have not seen the last of me Miss New York USA. I will come back, and I will take my blessings by force. I am unstoppable, and I will continue to chase after my dreams!”
The winner of the pageant was 26-year-old Hannah Lopa. Lopa is a long-time pageant competitor, taking second runner-up in 2016 and third runner-up in 2015.
Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, Janine! You truly are an inspiration to everyone! If you want to see more inspiring pageant girls, click here.