HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — When Miranda Bucy entered the competition to become a Maxim Cover Girl, she didn’t really think she had much of a shot. In fact, she still has her doubts.

But Bucy, a single, 38-year-old mother of a child with special needs, is so far holding her own in the competition, currently running fourth in her group.

The Maxim contest raises funds to help to build and remodel handicap-accessible homes for disabled veterans, with 25% percent of proceeds going to fund the nonprofit Homes for Wounded Warriors. Members of the public can vote for contestants once each day for free but can cast additional votes for $1 each.

Bucy said she didn’t enter the competition with high expectations.

“I decided to enter on a whim,” Bucy said. “I’m a full-time single mom who never really has time to date and I think sometimes, it’s nice to do something that makes you feel pretty and desirable, even if it seems silly.”

She said it’s important for moms to explore every part of their identities.

Miranda and her daughter (Courtesy Miranda Bucy)

“I think moms sometimes forget we are still people, and it’s nice to see ourselves as something other than the person who makes the PB&Js and changes diapers and goes to bed exhausted every night,” she said.

Bucy said that if she won the competition and its $25,000 cash prize, she would set aside the money to buy the property next door to her for her daughter to use later in life. “I want her to be as independent as possible while still being nearby,” she said. “So that’s a long-term goal for me.”

She said that once she began performing well in her competition group, she began thinking about what it would mean to be a Maxim Cover Girl, not just for her, but for other moms like her.

“It’s exciting to think that I could not only represent single moms, but also single moms of special needs kids,” Bucy said. “My daughter has Down Syndrome, and while being a parent is isolating enough, it’s a whole other thing to be a special needs parent trying to do everything by yourself.”

Becoming a Maxim cover model would help show those in similar situations see that beauty isn’t monolithic, Bucy said.

“It would be nice to show those moms that they aren’t as alone as they feel they are,” she said. “And it would be nice to show all women that being a mom and having a mom body and not being 21 doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful to someone.

You can vote for Miranda Bucy to become a Maxim Cover Girl by clicking here. The competition is in its first round, which ends June 23rd. The winner of the competition will be announced on Aug. 18.