The bathing suit portion of a beauty pageant is stressful. The pressure of having to compete against impossibly thin, well-endowed girls in front of the gaze of a crowd of thousands and judges is enough. But the bravery that comes with making the decision to wear your insulin pack with your bikini is part of what won Sierra Sandison the title of Miss Idaho 2014.
“Diabetes turned my life upside down when I was first diagnosed,” Sierra wrote on Facebook. After being diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 2012, she became fearful of wearing her insulin pack in public, let alone a statewide beauty pageant. She catalogued her struggle with her illness in a post on her blog:
When I first started competing, I was using injections rather than a pump. I didn’t want people to see a weird-tubey-machine-thing attached to me all the time, and could not wrap my head around having a medical device on my body for the rest of my life.
But after hearing that Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, wore an insulin pump, non-visibly during competitions, she was inspired to do the same. Now, her choice has inspired a new generation to not let define themselves according to society’s standards of beauty.
Thanks to her post on Facebook asking users to #showmeyourpump, there’s a new beauty pageant on social media. Quickly, admirers have chimed in with photos of their devices and praise for Sierra’s inspiring actions.
— Danielle Adams (@DanielleAdams5) July 18, 2014
— Kelly Fitzgerald (@kelfitz77) July 16, 2014
— Ben Rolfe (@mcbunsy) July 17, 2014
— catriona Hope (@CatrionaHope) July 18, 2014
— Catrina Curtis (@cat_trina_) July 16, 2014
— Hannah ☀️✌️ (@hannahestellec) July 16, 2014