The next time a bad hair day gets you down, think again.
Kayla Martell, who won Miss Delaware this summer, has no hair at all. And no, she doesn’t have a Britney complex: she has alopecia areata, an autoimmune diases that causes baldness, usually beginning from a young age. Kayla started losing her hair when she was ten, and instead of retreating behind a plethora of hats and wigs, she wears her baldness comfortably and naturally.
According to ABC News, she embraces her baldness: “When I go grocery shopping, when I’m out with my friends, when I’m at home, I’m without the wig. That’s me. That’s the real me.” (The Huffington Post)
Not only does Kayla embrace her looks, she also encourages awareness and understanding for other people with her condition. Her pageant platform is focused on raising money and awareness for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. She also volunteers her time with children with have alopecia areata, encouraging them to look past hair loss and inspiring them with her own achievements.
One of Kayla’s biggest fans and supporters is also her mentor child, five-year-old Liliana Hakim. After four years in the MIss Delaware competition, Kayla was about to throw in the towel. Liliana, however, encouraged her to give it one more try — fifth time was the charm!
Kayla says of Liliana: “…Thinking about her just makes me smile. For a five year-old girl to walk around without a wig and disregard the stares and whispers with a huge grin says so much about her personality. Adults could learn a lot from her! She is a beautiful and strong girl, and I am blessed to be her mentor.” (From Stylist.com)
Kayla is now in the competition for the title of Miss America 2011 in the 90th anniversary of the pageant‘s inception, and she has been allowed to forgo the wig during the competition if she chooses. I am excited to see what she will do!
Take a peek behind the scenes of Kayla’s surprisingly normal life and her preparation for the Miss America Pageant:
This really makes me appreciate my bad bang days and frizzy curls a whole lot more. In the end, it just goes to show that beauty really comes from within. What an inspiration to us all!
The pageant airs January 15, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST. Will you be cheering for Kayla?