A Program of Achievement, Advocacy & Opportunity

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington
Nicole Martini


"Everyone deserves a hassle free travel experience" ~ Nicole Martini ~ Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2016 Nicole Martini was born with Spina Bifida in San Diego, CA and moved to the Seattle area in 2011. She has always had a passion for helping others and has a long history of being involved with her community since childhood. She’s an avid swimmer and is a member of team Seattle’s Shadow Seals swim team. Advocating is nothing new for Nicole as she has spent a lifetime advocating for herself as well as championing adaptive sports involvement. She and her husband Victor live in beautiful Woodinville and enjoy raising their pups Angel and Peanut and experiencing Pacific Northwest traditions and festivities. In her current position with Alaska Airlines as a Reservations Agent, Nicole helps people, many travelers who, like her, are wheelchair users, with questions and ultimately reservations. The calls she enjoys most are people with accessibility questions as she knows that not everyone has flown or knows what to expect or ask when it comes to airline travel as a wheelchair user. Nicole Martini’s Platform Title: Barrier Free Travel – Fight for Flight Platform Focus: The ultimate goal of Nicole’s platform is to help champion accessible travel by air, making it as comfortable as possible for everyone, but especially those with mobility issues that she herself can relate so well with. Nicole looks forward to working one on one with Alaska Airlines, along with educating the public, to do just that!

If you would like more information about Ms. Wheelchair Washington or to schedule an interview/event with Nicole Martini, please contact her at msww16nicole@outlook.com

The City Council and the City of Sequim congratulated me for being named Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2015 and wished me the best of luck at Ms..Wheelchair America 2016 competition! Thank you for this once in a lifetime opportunity. It was such an honor to be recognized for my accomplishments by such wonderful people!
I wanted to thank Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Chris McDaniel for writing this article on Ms. Wheelchair Washington in the Peninsula Daily News. He pulled out a recorder, and I said, "oh no!You're going to record this interview? Now I am very nervous".  He replied, "don't worry. You will forget about it".  He was correct, I did forget about being recorded.  I was very comfortable talking with him. We did a lot of laughing and that put me at ease!


Final Speech!!

It's that time once again, time to crown an new Ms. Wheelchair WA!! Over the past year I've had some exciting experiences, met some pretty amazing people. A couple of things that stand out in my mind is attending the Ravishing Women's Show in Seattle. All the beautiful people inside and out,amazing food and gorgeous clothing etc. To be asked to be a part of this show was such an honor. Competing in the Ms. wheelchair America Pageant in Long Beach, CA. was pretty incredible too. Meeting so many accomplished women made me want to elevate myself and be the best I can possibly be. A week of bonding, workshops, fun day, judging sessions and of course the Speech Night and Crowning Night made up this incredible week long adventure. I must say I am sad to see it come to an end so quickly. Thank you to those who have supported me from the get go! Thank you to those who were less than thrilled to see me win this title. Knowing this helped me to push myself in times of doubt. Thank you all for opening my eyes more. From the bottom of my heart I love you all and I will continue to be an advocate for people with disabilities!! 

Evelyna Castro Ms. Wheelchair WA. 2014

What I've Been Up To!!

It’s Dec. 31, 2014, what a year it has been. It’s had it’s ups and downs like any other year. I know it’s been a while since I have updated my posts so I thought I’d sum it all up in this post.

One of the highlights of this past year was competing in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Long Beach, CA. where I met a lot of very inspiring people. Thought I did not win the title of Ms. Wheelchair America I can away from the pageant with great friends and quite an eye opening experience to people with disabilities.
After coming back life was a little interesting I guess you can say. While I had appearances and speaking engagements like attending and speaking at the “People First” conference which happened to be very close to this year, a couple weeks after returning to WA. I took a couple of spills out of my wheelchair and ended up fracturing both legs. Of course being the active person I am that did Not slow me down very much. I did limit transferring a bit. After about two and a half months with braces on my legs, the day before Thanksgiving I got them take off!!

The People First Conference was very interesting and I met a lot of people who are definitely changing the way mainstream society looks at people with disabilities. The conference I believe was three days. I also decided to join the local People First Chapter and will be running for a position on their board.
Another appearance I had was attending a very special, public wish for Seattle’s own super hero Red Lightening put on by the Make A Wish Foundation in in the Seattle area and the EMP Museum.
After that I was invited to be again on Feet On The Street and also to make an appearance and speak at their Christmas Party.

I know I am forgetting to mention some other speaking engagements so I will leave it at that for now and will update more a little later.

I hope everyone is having a Wonderfully Festive holiday season for those who celebrate!!

P.S. I will be posting pictures to this blog, but if you haven't already please "Like" the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Facebook page!!

Seattle Adaptive Sports!!!

When I went to Seattle Mother's Day weekend my first stop right off the train was with Seattle Adaptive Sports playing basketball with everyone. Thank you so much for all your help Tami for all your help and inviting me to play it was/is very much appreciated!! It was great hanging out, meeting new people, talking to them and getting to know some of them. I haven't played basketball in a very long time but it was so much fun!! I really hope to visit Seattle Adaptive Sports again soon. I had been very curious about this group and Tacoma, that I am aware of there really are not a lot of options for groups geared towards adaptive sports where I live, I have looked around locally.
Thank you for making my day a Great one EVERYONE!!! You all are really great people. :)

The "Joys" of Being In A Wheelchair and Performing Onstage

Currently I am in a variety show/cabaret show. For those who probably don't know I was a theatre actor for about 15 years before deciding to take another path in acting. I ventured into Voice-Over. The rejection and narrow-mindedness got to a point where I couldn't get ANY roles, but instead got a whole  mess of excuses from directors. I'm sorry, but you don't want to cast me because you don't have a ramp is an Extremely lame and FALSE excuse to NOT cast a person in a wheelchair. It's very simple to make a ramp.To be completely honest with you it would be so much better if you were blunt and upfront whether it is because of the chair or not, but please do NOT lie to us to "not hurt our feelings". Personally I can see past the BS and it hurts my feelings to be lied to. I am sure a lot of other people can see past all the excuses as well.
Anyway, to get back to the current show I am in which only has a total of 4 performances, (1 down 3 to go). I truly appreciate that everyone is willing to make the theatre backstage area work which is not wheelchair accessible, which means being carried up and down steps to get to and from the stage. I do not like it at all, but hey, I'm not going to quit if they are willing to make it work as a team. The problem I do have is that it is really getting on my nerves that some of the backstage crew is taking it upon themselves to practically push me on stage at inappropriate times (when I am not supposed to to be onstage). If I am trying to physically stop you from wheeling me onto stage please respect that and don't do it. I do know when I am supposed to be up there or waiting in the wings. If you are not dancing with me on stage or lifting me up/down steps please hands off my chair. To tell you the truth it's just makes those people who think I should be up there or in the front for everyone to see look bad. Don't get me wrong I do appreciate they are trying to help but PLEASE ASK before doing something like this, I do take performing seriously even if it is on a community level. Acting is something I have done at a semi-professional level and I do take it serious.
This is my current complaint, but all in all I am having a Great time with great folks and would LOVE to continue performing!!! Not going to let stupid stuff discourage me from my passions in life.


This past weekend I went to the Seattle area to attend The Ravishing Women Show with Ms. Wheelchair America Jennifer Adams!! WOW!! The Ravishing Women show was SO Beautiful!!! There were so many Fantastic people, food, vendors selling things like jewelry and clothing and more, plus a couple of people doing Henna which I unfortunately did not get the chance to have done. EVERY TIME I got to a place where there is Henna I have to get it done because I love it so much. Henna is definitely an art form being so intricate and detailed in the designs. I’ve always been quite fascinated with different cultures from around the world so this even was extremely exciting for. The people I met at the Ravishing Women Show we so very kind, generous, helpful and just all around lovely, lovely people. All the women participating in the Miss/Mrs. India Washington Pageant looked so breathtakingly gorgeous in their traditional clothing and makeup. The talent portion of the pageant was a lot of fun to watch even though I only saw a very small portion of it because I was helping Jenny at her table. The dancers were incredible; the singers were beautiful and unique, Jenny even performed a dance to a song called “Walk On Water” which everyone loved!! Unfortunately I did not get to see
her dance but I am sure there will be many more opportunities to see her dance.

The hotel I stayed at was the Silver Cloud Hotel in Redmond, WA and I have to say they were truly a fantastic group of people who work there!!! My room was very spacious and completely wheelchair accessible, I Highly recommend this hotel to anyone and everyone in a wheelchair. Their laundry facilities at the hotel I did need a little help with because they had font loader dryers but top loader washers, however the staff were more than happy to help. The complimentary breakfast was the same situation as far as needing help.

Back to the Ravishing Women Show, Jenny and I met a lot of really amazing people including Mrs. Tacoma and Mrs. Washington!! Both Jenny and I were honored on stage at different times during the show with a Ravishing Women trophy!! I also got to crown the new Miss. India Washington, Angela Goraphy, which was quite an honor to say the least. I know Angela will be fantastic and I wish her the best of luck with everything!! I will most definitely come to this show in the future even if I don’t do anything but buy, eat and watch the show and I think you should too!! 

Oh my goodness!! I forgot to mention that I also was asked to help out with applying makeup to some of the ladies!!! Lots and lots of fun on Sunday despite getting their a little late. Even though I was a little late to arrive I did have Very good luck with getting wheelchair accessible cabs in a timely manner. Meaning I did Not have to wait even an hour or more for a cab!!!


My View On Disability

 I want to address my view on “disability”. People ask me why I use air quotes when talking about “disability” or when writing the word. The reason behind this is that I personally I do not see myself as a “disabled” woman at all, Not because I am embarrassed or ashamed that I am in a wheelchair and can not walk, this could not be further from the truth. It is because when I think of "disabled" to me it means someone who thinks they can not do for themselves. Fact of the matter is that if we put out mind to it we are Very capable of doing for ourselves and others, in some cases more than the average “able bodied” person. 
Absolutely, I agree that people with “different abilities" (thank you Damon Rozier for letting me quote you!!) or "various abilities” have to be a little more creative in how we accomplish tasks on a day to day basis, however it is those who think “disabled”, “crippled”, “UNabled” that have the Real disabilities because they are the ones with closed off minds!!
As Ms. Wheelchair Washington I like to think I am helping to represent NOT a “disabled” community, but very much a “differently abled” (once again thank you Damon) community or people with various abilities.


I got invited to attend an adaptive archery workshop in Puyallup with Adaptive Recreation, a group of people with “disabilities”. 
I’ve been shooting archery from the age of about 8 yrs old. When I was in my early 20's I took a break from sports altogether.
When I was 16 yrs. I competed in a national competition in Tempe, Arizona and won 2nd place in my division.
Anyway, finding Skookum Archers proved to be a bit of a task. I, once again, attempted to take the bus there. Krystal was with me, but neither of us knew how to get there. We were going to two different locations. Krystal went to the fair while I went to shoot archery for the day.
 I asked the bus driver how I could get to the archery range, but unfortunately he didn’t know either. All of a sudden all the people on the bus started helping out by shouting out routes and ways to get to my location by bus and cab. The bus driver even took extra time to call in and see if he could get correct routes to the range. I felt a little overwhelmed that so many people would take the time to help me, it was so humbling and amazing. I am SO grateful to the bus driver and the group of people who helped. Everyone went above and beyond to help me.

After that, while still on the bus, I ended up getting a pretty bad panic attack!! I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but “luckily”  I knew how to handle the situation since I've had panic attacks since the age of 13 yrs old.
Feeling, lightheaded, disoriented, hyperventilating, heart pounding , shaking and thoughts racing a mile a minute I got off the bus, pushed myself across the street to a mini mall to take a taxi, but first I got a bite to eat incase it was caused by low blood sugar. The bus dropped me off only about a mile away so it didn't take long.

Once I Finally reached Skookum Archers, still having a pretty bad panic attack, I met another great bunch of people/fellow archers!! As much as my body was in “fight or flight mode” and telling me not to shoot, I had to fight like hell and force myself to shoot. I didn’t go there to sit back and watch everyone shoot. One of the men there is an amazing traditional archer and he let me shoot with his bow/arrows for a round!! It was such an honor to shoot using his bow/arrows, which were beautiful!! Shooting for 4 hours felt SO great despite the stupid panic attack, which lasted about 4 hrs. I believe because I kept trying to suppress it, it kind of made it worse!!!
I would LOVE to shoot with this group of archers again. My goal for archery is to get back into competing again. What a wonderful way to end a fun filled adventurous few days!! I loved every minute of it. I will Never forget this experience. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH to EVERYONE involved in this adventure, Pierce Transit, and the people at the STAR Center who also helped me out in figuring out my exact location so I could call a cab.

Puyallup Spring Fair!!!

I got to spend a few days in Tacoma, WA!! I want to give a BIG Thank You to Jenny Adams, Ms. Wheelchair America for inviting Krystal Monteros (Ms. Wheelchair WA. 2010) and myself to help out at the Puyallup Spring Fair at the Ms. Wheelchair America table!! I had such a great time with both ladies. They both are wonderful, selfless people with hearts of gold.
Thank you, Krystal, for letting me stay with you!! We always have a great time together!! J

I have only been to Tacoma 2 times, this being my 2nd time ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The first day of the fair was very exciting for me since I’ve never been to the Puyallup Spring Fair before. As soon as my train arrived in Tacoma, (which was an hour late) Krystal met me at the Amtrak station and we took the bus over to the fair grounds. We met a lot of characters, but over all the day was great with the sun shinning bright.
Day 2 was interesting. I had to take the bus to the fairgrounds by myself. Luckily, Krystal, being the awesome friend she is, set up my whole bus itinerary for the day. So there weren’t very many mishaps. I did start off the day by getting on the wrong bus at first, however being bus savvy myself, (my dad drove the city buses in Santa Clara County for 30 yrs, and I’ve been taken buses since 2nd grade) this was quickly fixed and I was back on track with no worries.

The 2nd day (and my last day) at the fair was a very good and busy one!! Once again, I met a lot of great people, some of which shared wonderfully inspirational stories about their loved ones with “disabilities” and how they overcame obstacles.
I also got to meet and took a picture with Honey Queen Pierce County, which was pretty neat.