Alexis Wineman is the first beauty queen to make it to the Miss America stage of the prestigious competition, while fighting autism.
The contestant from Cut Bank, Montana has already been crowned Miss Montana in June, at just 18 years old. She is also this year's youngest competitor at Miss America.
about Wineman yesterday as well. Her “platform issue,” as expressed in a video from December, is raising awareness about autism sufferers and their ability to lead a normal life.
She proved she is a fearless competitor by making it all the way to the national competition, and she is not letting her social awkwardness get the best of her.
“Socializing with my classmates, even when I wanted to, was awkward to say the least. I wouldn’t get their jokes half the time. I took everything so literally,” she told Disability Scoop.
“It’s amazing how people don’t accept other people just because they’re different. Being different is not something to look down on, but to be embraced. [...] I say why fit in when you were born to stand out,” she speaks about her motto in life.
Alexis depends on set schedules, the strictness of which brings her comfort. She has had to adapt to the unpredictability of the competition she joined.
“She has at times struggled. [...] There isn’t a set schedule, which can be very hard,” her mother Kimberley Butterworth describes.
She employs coping techniques to calm down, when she is feeling overwhelmed.
“With her iPod, she has been able to disengage for a minute, and plug herself into it and regroup,” Kimberley adds.
Asked what the hardest thing to get used to in a pageant was, Alexis surprisingly points to high heels.
“I was never a girl to walk in heels, and I did not prepare. That was the hardest part,” she admits.