Ms. Wheelchair NC Prepares For Nationals - myfoxcarolinas.com

Ms. Wheelchair NC Prepares For Nationals

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 She's a daughter, lawyer and pageant champion, but don't call her a pageant queen.

"I'm not a pageant girl," Ariella Barker said. "I watch them on TV and I'm like this is so wrong."

 Ariella Barker is reigning Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina and a spokeswoman for disabled people in the state.

"Growing up was hard," she said. "Kids are kids so if you're different in any way they kind of make fun of you."

Barker cannot walk due to a rare genetic disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. That hasn't stopped her from achieving success. She worked for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an attorney and is now going to teach at Charlotte School of Law.

 "People think I am mentally retarded because I am in a chair," she said. "There are so many issues of discrimination and accessibility that I have faced my entire life."

Growing up, she didn't have a disabled role model. Today, she strives to be that person for kids everywhere.

"Maybe they'll leave saying 'hey she could do all these things, I can too,'" she said.

She hopes to continue her disability advocacy as Ms. Wheelchair America. She'll compete in the pageant August 4-10 in Long Beach, California. Barker is asking for donations on Go Fund Me to help cover her travel and registration.

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