Kyann Flint competed in Miss Washington USA despite being legally blind and using a wheelchair.
“I’m actually legally blind so I don’t look in the mirror when I do my make-up,” said Kyann Flint. Instead, she applies makeup by touch and the help of her mom. She is the first contestant from the Pacific Northwest to compete in a Miss USA state pageant in a wheelchair.
“I love to do things that defy the definition of disability,” said Kyann. “I want to show the world that those of us with disabilities can be confidently beautiful as well. Right now, when you see disability and when you hear disability, the typical thought is not beauty. To me, my disability is beautiful, and I want other people to see that too.”
At 8 years old, she was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie Tooth, a neuromuscular disease and got her first wheelchair at age 10. She continued having additional symptoms also was also diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia when she was 24.
“Kyann is telling people you don’t have to be the norm of what society said is a beauty queen. You can be you and embrace you and love you. She’s a role model to so many people," said Co-Executive Producer Maureen Francisco.
She did not make the top 16, but plans to return to competion next year.
“I don’t want people to think that acquiring a disability is worse than dying, or the worst thing that could possibly happen to them,” said Kyann. “I have a disability, and it’s just a part of who I am. It’s not much different than my blonde hair or my green eyes. It’s just a characteristic. That’s a part of who I am, not all of who I am... I really don’t want my wheelchair to be looked at as taboo,” she said. “It’s a unique accessory to me, and it just helps me get around, and it’s become a part of who I am."