The Journey of a Beauty Queen . . . with Diabetes

Sierra Sandison, a.k.a. Miss Idaho 2014, may be the country’s most famous beauty queen with diabetes, having proudly worn her insulin pumpThis image is associated with an external link. during the bathing suit competition and releasing the photo earlier this month.

Today we hear from another contender in the fight to Stop Diabetes®!


rachel janovskyFour years ago, I decided to compete in my first beauty pageant. I was nervous at first, but the fact that I made the top 25 on my first try proved that I had potential.

Over the next few years I kept competing and losing, but there was something in me that did not want to give up. There were two reasons why I kept trying. First, I knew someday my hard work would pay off. Second, I was passionate about my platform, which is diabetes awareness. I knew that one day, the spotlight would be on me and I could use this spotlight to talk about diabetes.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 8 years old. Even though I have had diabetes for about ten years, it still is difficult to manage my blood glucose levels, especially during special events. Beauty pageants last as long as three hours. Being under high amounts of stress for that length of time means there is a good chance my blood glucose levels will increase.

I have figured out many tricks to keep my levels under control during the pageants. To begin, I try to test my blood glucose as much as possible during the event. When I am changing outfits in between segments, I sometimes have time to test and take a small dose of insulin (if needed).

If I know that I will not have time to test my blood glucose during the pageant, I eat a snack that is high in protein in order to maintain my levels and prevent me from having a low during the pageant. Often, I have to take off my insulin pump for events, like a bathing suit competition. When this situation occurs, I make sure to give myself a small dose of insulin to accommodate for the time that my pump is disconnected.

Recently, my hard work has paid off and I won the title of Miss Teen Illinois Galaxy 2014! I had the overall highest points for the pageant’s competitions of Photogenic, Bathing Suit, Interview, Fun Fashion and Formal Wear for the Teen Division. Now that I have the state title, I have the opportunity to compete against girls from around the world at the Galaxy International Pageant in Orlando the first week of August. I am excited about making appearances and talking about diabetes awareness.

Recently, I was a guest on the internet podcast Pageant Cast. I had the opportunity to create a PSA about diabetes awareness and promote the American Diabetes Association. My goal is to use this opportunity of being a state titleholder to educate others about diabetes and eliminate the stereotypes that surround type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Rachel Janovsky, age 18, is from Wheaton, Ill. She has been a camp counselor at the American Diabetes Association’s Camp Discovery for five years and is the Association’s 2014 Northern Illinois Youth Advocate. Follow her at!

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3 Responses to The Journey of a Beauty Queen . . . with Diabetes

  1. russ jenks says:

    Congratulations on your victory with your beauty pageant and being aware of the necessity for all people to advocate for diabetes awareness and education! Diabetes is and will be difficult to manage today and in the near future. Fortunately, people like you who demonstrate tenacity, courage, and perseverance can reach their goals and dreams while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I have had type 1 diabetes for nearly 50 years,and I have not suffered any debilitating complications. My regimen has slipped some recently, but I am back on track to reduce my A1C to 7-0-6.9 without using a pump. I look in retrospect at my life of 52 years, and feel proud of the employment and activities I have completed such as delivering the US mail, being a high school wrestler and track participant, and now being a teacher. Needless to say, those middle school children can raise your stress levels. ood luck with your endeavors. You will prevail!

  2. Pingback: The Journey of a Beauty Queen . . . with Diabetes | Diabetes Stops ... - Diseases of this age

  3. Pingback: Diabetes Votes Needed: #ShowMeYourPump For Miss America! : DiabetesMine: the all things diabetes blog

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