Kayla Martell admits she has been going bald since she was 11 years old. The 21 year old beauty queen suffers from Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the hair follicles, causing those affected to lose their hair.
At the urging of a 5-year old girl, Lilly, who also has the disease, Kayla competed in the 2010 Miss Delaware Pageant – and won!
Kayla says, “I think I can be a better Miss Delaware and Miss America by taking the wig off, because it show people the initial reaction that I am healthy and I’m fine. All we do is lose our hair, right?”
Watch her inspirational interview on the CBS Morning Show, below:
While talking to Stylist.com, Martell says that she hopes her positive experience winning Miss Delaware will encourage other young patients. “Just last week, I volunteered at NAAF’s International Conference and spent time with children who have alopecia. They all tried on my crown and here able to see that it is possible for a bald woman to become Miss America.”
Kayla competed in the Miss Delaware pageant 5 times before her win, even competing twice without her blond wig.