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Confidence and Dedication Sum Up The New Miss Greater SLC

Dec 07, 2015 10:48AM ● By Aimee L Cook

By Aimee L. Cook

Sometimes you have an experience in life that changes the way you live it. Such was the case for the newly crowned Miss Greater SLC, Natalie Barker. This beauty queen is more than just a pretty face; she is on a mission to remove the word ‘retarded’ from people’s vocabulary.

Natalie was crowned First Attendant for Miss Herriman last year and you might say pageant life runs in her family.  In the past, her aunt was Miss Utah, her cousin was Miss Sandy and her mom was in the Miss Salt Lake County pageant.

“The Miss America program is great. I love what it does for young woman,” Natalie said.  “I grew up as a tomboy living with four brothers. I played sports up until seventh grade, and then I started dancing and became a little bit more girly.”

Natalie is now a college freshman on a career path in special education. Her platform  “Everyone Has a Place” and ending the “R” word is near and dear to her heart. Several years ago, Natalie had that ah-ha moment while volunteering for the Special Olympics. That population left an impression on her, and she is dedicated to helping them gain the respect they deserve.  She was a peer tutor in high school for students who had an intellectual or developmental disability, and now as Miss Greater SLC, she can reach an even larger audience. 

“I quickly realized that when people use the word ‘retard’ it really offends people with disabilities,’ Natalie said. “I will use my platform to spread the word and unite people with and without disabilities.”

Natalie is back working at her former high school [Herriman High] as an assistant teacher for some of the kids she peer-tutored in high school. Natalie utilizes her crown and platform by going around to schools and taking with students about the importance of not using the “R” word and showing respect for others.

“I get an opportunity to be a voice for the people that I care about and I also get to be a representative of Salt Lake City and for Utah through the Miss America program,” Natalie said. “I also get the opportunity to give back to my community that has given so much to me.”

From here, Natalie will go on to prepare for the Miss Utah pageant.  She believes that girls can learn so much from being involved in pageants.

“The Miss America program is about showing confidence. You get to learn what is going on in the world and develop your own opinions,” Natalie said. “It also gives you an opportunity to serve, and that’s where I’ve grown and learned the most about myself. You are judged on you being confident in who you are.”