Beauty queen hopes to inspire those with birth defects

Beauty queen Saribel Rodriguez, 21, was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Beauty queen Saribel Rodriguez, 21, was born with a cleft lip and palate. (7/26/13)

THE BRONX - One Bronx beauty queen is hoping she can inspire others to realize that beauty is not only skin-deep.

Beauty queen Saribel Rodriguez, 21, was born with a cleft lip and palate.

When she was 2 months old, Rodriguez had her first of four surgeries at Montefiore Medical Center to repair them. She had the most recent surgery just a few months ago to correct a nasal issue.

Now, Rodriguez is set to compete in Miss Hispanida in September and Miss New York in January.

"I believe things happen for a reason," she says. "And maybe I was born like this to inspire a person. Maybe that's the reason."

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