Abbey Curran is a National Keynote Speaker, Founder of The Miss You Can Do It Pageant and Author of The Courage to Compete.
Abbey Curran was crowned Miss Iowa USA 2008. Born with Cerebral palsy, she became the first person dealing with a special challenge throughout her life to compete in the prestigious Miss USA competition.
Abbey grew up on a pig farm in the rural town of Kewanee Illinois. She has never allowed her so-called disability to hold her back from her dreams for herself and for others. She lives by the motto, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"
Abbey entered her first beauty pageant when she was 16, despite being told she shouldn't do so by everyone she knew. Taking part in the pageant gave her a new sense of confidence and was such an empowering experience that she determined to pass on the positive feelings she gained to other challenged girls. To do so, she established the Miss You Can Do It pageant for girls with disabilities who range in age from 5 to 25. Now in its 13th year, the pageant has been incredibly successful in bringing Abbey's basic message to its contestants and their families: that any journey, great or small, begins with two words: "I'll Try".
The Miss You Can Do It pageant remains a unique, annual event that imbues its young contestants with joy, confidence and pride. It's so successful that, in 2013, HBO made a beautiful documentary about it (titled Miss You Can Do It) in which Abbey is prominently featured.
(Please read the Miss You Can Do It bio for more information on the pageant.)
Abbey graduated from Saint Ambrose University with a bachelor's degree in Communications. She spent the last year in nursing school. In recent years, she's given motivational speeches at dozens of venues and events, from fundraising banquets for United Cerebral Palsy to colleges and schools throughout the country.
She has appeared on many TV shows, among them The Early Show, The Ellen Show, Katie with Katie Couric, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, Extra, Fox and Friends, Fox News and CNN Headline News. She has also been featured in stories in also had an exclusive feature story in People and Vogue.
In 2011, she was honored by the distinguished Susan G. Komen Foundation, which named her "Leader of the Future" and "Most Inspirational Woman in America."
In September 2015, HarperCollins published Abbey's autobiography, The Courage to Compete.