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Teen with autism wins Miss Photogenic at Miss Saraland pageant

By LACEY BEASLEY

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    Saraland, Alabama (WALA) — This past weekend at the Miss Saraland pageant, one young woman took home a big title, but it wasn’t the award that made her so special, it’s her motivation.

From the outside, Jada Braxton looks like any other 17-year-old girl, but on the inside, there is something that makes her special.

At 7 years old, she was diagnosed with autism, making it difficult to interact in social settings, but that hasn’t stopped her one bit from living out her dreams– becoming a pageant queen.

Those dreams came true this past weekend when she was awarded Miss Photogenic at the Miss Saraland pageant.

“I was surprised, and I was glad they called my name to be Miss Photogenic,” said Jada Braxton.

According to Jada’s mom, not only is this a huge accomplishment for her, but it’s also a win for the autistic community.

“By her being autistic, one of the characteristic traits is not being able to make direct eye contact, especially when she’s taking pictures,” said Danisha Braxton. “For her to win just based off of her picture is just outstanding.”

Her mom said autism is not an outward appearance. It can come in any shape or size.

“By her winning Miss Photogenic, she is a face now to autism,” said Danisha. “This is autism, this is what autism looks like.”

Looking back on the pageant, Jada said it was the best thing to ever happen to her.

She became more confident and wanted to show others they can do it too.

“The reason I entered is because I want autistic girls to know that they have a voice,” said Jada.

She had one message for every girl with autism.

“They have confidence, and do the best they can, and you never know, when you have autism let other people know that you are the real deal, like everybody else,” said Jada. “Let the bullies be bullies, and just let them hate.”

She said next year, she is signing up for the pageant again.

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