‘A bold statement:’ Woman wants to reshape our view of beauty at Miss North Carolina USA pageant

**Embargo: Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC** The day before she takes the stage in High Point, Madeline Delp gave us a preview of the flowing red gown she'll wear at the Miss North Carolina USA Pageant, which takes place Friday and Saturday.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The day before she takes the stage in High Point, Madeline Delp gave us a preview of the flowing red gown she’ll wear at the Miss North Carolina USA Pageant, which takes place Friday and Saturday.

If she wins, she’d become the first wheelchair user to earn the title.

“So, the interesting part is there’s a ramp that goes down off of the, like, catwalk. So, the first year that I did it, I went so fast. I was like, I’m gonna, like, run right off the stage,” the reigning Miss Asheville USA said Thursday, explaining that it takes a lot of practice to move around with the gown in a wheelchair.

“Makes a bold statement, but that I’ve had to work really hard to learn to wheel around in!” she said.

Confidence is the name of the game.

“You are deserving of the crown,” Delp tells herself. “And that’s a battle that I’ve had because I’m different and I, obviously, have different challenges.”

At 10 years old, she and her mother were in the car together when they were hit by a truck.

The impact crushed Delp’s spine and left her paralyzed.

“The woman you see now has battled to overcome so many emotional barriers,” said Delp, who’s never run into a barrier too big.

She won the title of Ms. Wheelchair USA 2017.

Now, she hopes her Miss NC USA platform helps reshape our view of beauty.

“There’s still many ideas of this cookie cutter image of what beauty represents, and I want to be able to have that really open conversation,” Delp said.

She goes to the pageant with far more than a fashion statement.

“I am doing this to show people that no matter what your situation, or what your challenge, you can shine bright,” Delp said.

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