Miss North Carolina USA 2021 Miss Congeniality Madeline Elizabeth Delp: From wheelchair to winner

09 Mar 2021 | Priya Bhardwaj

Madeline Elizabeth Delp was awarded Miss Congeniality title at the recently concluded Miss North Carolina USA 2021 as she became an inspiration for millions of people with her awe-inspiring story. Miss Congeniality watched Miss Congeniality on screen when she was just eight years old as Sandra Bullock made her fall in love with pageantry.

However, Madeline’s dream was crushed at the age of 10 after a car crash paralyzed her from waist down. "My accident happened and I watched that movie again and thought (pageantry) would be absolutely impossible for someone like me,” Delp said.



Madeline did not let these adversities pull her down as she tried her luck in the 2017 Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant at the age of 22 and won. After that, Madeline became an advocate for people with disabilities on the pageant stage, on a speaking circuit and through her work as director of Live Boundless.

The Western North Carolina native and UNC Asheville graduate now lives on a mission to ‘show that no matter what your challenges are in life, physical or otherwise, that you can learn how to overcome them and still find beauty and still find confidence.’

Also seeMadeline’s journey to Miss North Carolina USA



Placing as the 4th runner-up at Miss North Carolina USA 2021, she beat her own record of the first woman in wheelchair to come this far in the Miss USA pageants. From Asheville, North Carolina, Madeline competed in the pageant over the weekend in hopes to help change how the competition views beauty.

In a heartfelt post shared on her Instagram page Sunday, Delp detailed her Miss Congeniality win and what she hoped for Miss USA to come in regards to people in wheelchairs. “Last night I placed TOP 10 in the Miss NC USA Pageant and won Miss Congeniality! I believe that I am the first girl in a wheelchair to EVER advance that far in a state pageant in the entire USA,” she wrote.



This was Delp's second time competing in the Miss North Carolina USA pageant after first participating in the competition last year. In the previous year, she placed in the top 15. Madeline is the prime example of how one can change their idiosyncrasy into strength and project an aura such as hers to come so far in the pageantry, which at one point of time did not even accept unconventional norms in beauty.