If you thought that hair loss would stop you from achieving your dreams, you should take a look at beauty queen Kayla Martell. Kayla Martell was Miss Delaware in the 2011 Miss America contest, held in Las Vegas on January 15th. In addition to being among the top ten finalists in that competition, Kalya also has been diagnosed with alopecia areata, inexplicable and incurable hair loss. She has been living with alopecia areata since she was 10 years old and thus pays special attention to supporting children diagnosed with the disease. Her dedicated cause during the pageant was the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. She is committed to raising awareness of and support for the disease and the individuals that suffer from it.
Kayla Martell had competed five times for the title of Miss Delaware. The first three times she competed without a wig and the final two times she competed with a blond wig, including the final competition in which she was crowned Miss Delaware. In her interview with CBSnews, Miss Martell stated, “when I competed without the wig it was great because I was really representing who I am.”
She often expresses that she feels as comfortable with her wigs as she does without them. In fact, she states that she didn’t even own a wig until she began wearing it for competition. On a daily basis, doing things like shopping, spending time with friends, and working out, Kayla proudly sports her clean-shaven head, or the very short fuzzy style that grows naturally. For this reason she felt no conflict in competing with her wig in the National Miss America contest. She easily removes and reaffixes her wig on television and claims that family support and her position as a role model is what gives her the confidence to compete and be herself.
Just as she appears in public spaces both with and without her wig, she encourages women and girls to make that decision for themselves with no moral right or wrong attached to their choice. Her blog, Kalya’s Corner, aims to create “a safe space,” entertain and also raise awareness about “the many causes of women’s hair loss.” She offers advice, insights, and creates a forum for women and children who suffer from hair loss to ask questions and benefit from her experience. Also in her blog, she addresses varied topics from whether or not there should be a bald Barbie, to interviewing women undergoing chemotherapy.
This young woman shows us that we’re able to pursue our passions and desires fearlessly. Once you are able to embrace your hair loss and view yourself as beautiful, desirable, even a role model to other women, others will be able to view you in that light. It’s not only a matter of inner beauty it’s also a matter of letting what is inside, how you feel about yourself, show through on the outside.
External Links: Kayla’s Corner Blog