Women beautiful 'both on feet and wheels'

Laura Miola. PHOTO CREDIT: Youtube

ROME - The Miss Wheelchair World competition has concluded, but its impact, in showing that women’s bodies are not ‘wonderful’ merely through physical ability, lives on.

 The 27 year-old Italian beauty Laura Miola took to the stage in Warsaw as the only Italian contestant and got through to the finals of the competition. Girls from 19 countries presented themselves to judges in the beauty pageant and the Belarusian Alexandra Chichikova took home the prize. To be considered, the contestants had to demonstrate their fluent English, general world knowledge, and be outspoken advocates for the disabled community.

 Whilst the contest was a celebration of women’s bodies in every shape and kind, Miola told Il Fatto Quotidiano that she wishes for a day when contests such as this won’t be necessary. “I hope that tomorrow a competition like this will not be there anymore because finally, we can compete together with other able-bodied girls.”

 “This beauty contest was an opportunity to show that every woman is wonderful both on her feet and on her wheels and I hope that a positive message arrives [sic], that there begins a change of the image of disabled people, but above all I hope that [it] changes the image that disabled people often have of themselves: the wheelchair should not represent a limit.”

 “Not being able to walk does not prevent you from living your life to its full potential: you can express all your beauty and your personality standing or sitting. For me, the wheelchair is a concrete symbol of freedom.”

 The beauty star was recently married after 14 years of engagement and has graduated with a degree in Methods and Techniques of Communication. Despite showing symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic neurological disease, from three years old, she was only diagnosed at 24.

 Miola has urged others to support, and include, those who are disabled into the community. “Everything must start from us disabled because no one will ever give us anything. We must fight for the rights that are valid for everyone, even for disabled women and men.”