Savanah Overturf is not a pageant girl. She’ll be the first to tell you.
When the Fort Collins woman, now 28, first got involved with the Miss Amazing organization in 2017, it was only to show her support for a friend who wanted to enter the Miss Amazing pageant. of Colorado, a competition for women and girls with disabilities.
When her friend did not show up, Overturf entered the contest on her own. Overturf suffers from autism, intellectual developmental delay (IDD), epilepsy, schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome and ADHD.
“I wasn’t there to win. I was there to help my friend make friends,” Coloradoan Overturf said Thursday between morning classes at Colorado State University.
But to her surprise, she won her age category – becoming Colorado’s Miss Amazing that year.
Much to her surprise, she won the title again this year and later won the crown at the National Miss Amazing Pageant in Nashville last month.
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Although it started out as luck, Overturf said she found her place – and many new friends – in the Miss Amazing organization, which has chapters in 33 states.
Even before COVID-19, Overturf said she was constantly video calling her out-of-state contest friends. Miss Amazing has also helped Overturf hone her talent – slam poetry – and reduce her “passion,” which is a cause or mission every pageant contestant must champion in the Miss Amazing Contest.
For his passion, Overturf created The Inclusion Project, an initiative to educate the public about their disabilities – or, as Overturf likes to call them, “unique abilities.”
As part of the Inclusion Project, Overturf meets with local businesses, schools and organizations to discuss IDD and autism. Her next meeting is with a restaurant in Fort Collins, where she will conduct training with her staff.
“I try to talk to them about how to understand and accept people with DID and autism,” Overturf said. “You know… what do you do if someone has a seizure? What happens when you don’t have this training?”
“It is important for everyone to know that while we are all people and we are all unique, we all have challenges,” she added.
When Overturf isn’t working on The Inclusion Project, she takes classes twice a week to earn a communications degree from CSU. She is also part of a weekly day program with other people with DID. Depending on the day, Overturf said she was hanging out with her friends on the day program or volunteering on the program.
And in her spare time, she often works on her next piece of slam poetry – her favorite creative outlet.
“I’m just trying to change hearts and minds,” Overturf said.
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Erin Udell reports on current events, culture, history and more for Coloradoan. Contact her at [email protected] The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. Otherwise, get a Coloradoan digital subscription today.