That’s exactly the attitude that helped 21-year-old Kayla Martell, a senior at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., snag the crown of Miss Delaware 2010. Martell has had alopecia areata since the age of 10 years.
After competing five times for the crown in her home state of Delaware – two of those times without a wig – she finally won on June 12, 2010 – proving that bald is the new beautiful… on the pageant circuit.
“I won with the wig. However, it was great competing the two other times without the wig because it was really representing who I am,” Martell told the CBS Early Show.
Halfway through the interview, she took off her blond wig and proudly stated: “I think I can be a better Miss Delaware by taking the wig off,” she said. “I am healthy. I am fine. All we [alopecia sufferers] do is lose our hair.”
She went on to say that people are sometimes stunned when she takes her wig off, but “this is who I am.”
Not surprisingly, Martell’s platform is raising funds and awareness for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. She said 5-year-old Liliana Hakim, whose mother works with the foundation, was her inspiration for competing for a fifth and final time.
Martell will go on to compete for the title of Miss America at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on January 15, 2011.
No word yet on whether or not she will wear her wig or go au naturale.
—Markette Smith, @sk_web_editor on Twitter