Nicole Johnson is a former beauty queen who went on to become Miss American, the first ever to do so with type 1 diabetes.
Johnson is now an advocate for diabetes awareness and serves the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Tampa Bay chapters of the American Diabetes Association.
Becoming Miss America
Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993 and told by her doctors that she should avoid competition in beauty pageants, which could exacerbate her stress levels.
Due to misinformation from her doctors, including that she would not be able to have a career or be a mother, Johnson set out to prove them wrong.
In 1997, she was placed third-runner up in Miss Florida USA 1997, before relocating to Virginia saw her become Miss Virginia 1998.
In 1999, Johnson was crowned Miss America. While competing, she wore her insulin pump , of which she was also the first Miss America contestant to do.
Johnson has a degree in English from the University of South Florida and two Masters degrees; one in Public Heath from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida.
Her English degree secured her an anchor role with dLifeTV between 2005 and 2009, before Johnson took time to write a number of books, including her autobiography Living with Diabetes.
Voluntarily, she has worked in leadership roles for the JDRF and American Diabetes Association and is now the Executive Director of a program she created at the University of South Florida, called Bringing Science Homen, which helps young people with diabetes.
Johnson has received a plethora of awards for her work nationally and internationally to raise diabetes awareness
These include the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion and Awareness award (American Diabetes Associatio, 1999) and the Victory Over Diabetes Medal (Polish Diabetes Associatio, 2000).