Model & former KMOT reporter responds to Candace Owens’ comments on inclusivity

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:58 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Haleigh Rosa is a former reporter and anchor at our station, KMOT-TV, in Minot. After an accident left her paralyzed, Haleigh has reinvented herself as a model for brands like Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS underwear line. But a recent controversy involving Conservative Talk Show Host Candace Owens has sparked nationwide outrage and a powerful response from Rosa.

Eight years ago, Haleigh Rosa moved to North Dakota, where she worked as a TV news reporter and anchor. But a day of fun was cut short by a life-changing car crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

Despite the adversity, Haleigh has become an inspiration to many, now modeling and showing others that nothing can stop you from accomplishing your dreams.

This is how North Dakotans remember Haleigh Rosa. Local television viewers haven’t heard much about her since a serious car accident in 2015.

”It was just bad luck. We hit black ice and that’s how that happened,” said Rosa.

What happened was a car wreck that left Rosa paralyzed and changed the course of her life.

”I was kind of shy after my accident about being injured because I didn’t really know anybody like me. It was just a weird thing to go from being able-bodied to now my life is in a wheelchair. It was depressing to not see anybody like me,” said Rosa.

But, Rosa isn’t one to stop believing in herself. Her path to success wasn’t halted that day, just transformed.

”I got into modeling because I was close to [American Fashion Designer] Virgil Abloh at the time. Him and I were kind of talking about how cool it would be to do something and show inclusion. That was the first job that really got me comfortable in my skin,” said Rosa.

From there, Rosa took off, modeling for names like Tommy Hilfiger, Kim Kardashian and Off-White.

Her story of perseverance and her career in the fashion industry has caught the attention of many. However, it was her involvement in the SKIMS campaign that led to an unexpected controversy with Daily Wire Conservative Talk Show Host Candace Owens, which soon went viral.

”She’s in a wheelchair... really? That’s all I’m going to say is, ‘Really?’ I don’t really understand how far we’re going to take this inclusivity thing,” said Owens. “I don’t know why this needed to be done. I’m just getting tired of this all-inclusivity thing. It seems ridiculous.”

Owens criticized Rosa’s participation in the campaign, suggesting that even people in wheelchairs would think the advertisement is stupid.

”I just cannot for the life of me fathom waking up in the morning and being like, ‘I hate seeing someone in a wheelchair in a picture in an ad that’s not made for a wheelchair.’ I simply don’t understand it,” said Rosa.

Rosa responded to Owens’ remarks, expressing her disappointment and offering to educate the talk show host on the importance of representation.

”Her words were so disturbing. I know she doesn’t care about the opposing views of people, but I was not going to let it slide,” said Rosa.

Rosa’s response has resonated with many who believe in the power of inclusivity and representation.

”All of these people with disabilities and different body shapes and sizes and different skin colors deserve to be seen,” said Rosa.

Rosa is now focused on proving that everyone deserves to be seen and heard.

Candace Owens has since apologized to Haleigh Rosa over the phone. However, Rosa isn’t convinced Owens has changed her views.

Haleigh Rosa’s powerful response to Candace Owens’ comments has garnered widespread support and has become a rallying cry for the importance of normalizing inclusivity.

Rosa has created a foundation to donate to others with different disabilities, called “For Everyone.” You can learn more by visiting her website.

As Haleigh continues to break barriers, we at Gray Television are proud to have been a part of her journey.