Miss Delaware, Kayla Martell, is redefining the definition of beauty.
Last Saturday in Las Vegas, Martell was one of the top 10 finalists in the Miss America contest. Martell became only the third Miss Delaware to make it into the top 10 during the first cut.
However, Martell is more than a pretty face. She is a woman who chooses to give back to community. As part of her Miss America duties, Martell spends her time volunteering and speaking for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Character Counts Program and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). Martell is a lifelong 4-H’er.
This Delawarean is a woman who perseveres. For example, Martell was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that caused her to lose her hair at age 10.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and can progress to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or complete body hair loss (alopecia universalis).
Alopecia areata affects than 4.7 million people in the United States alone, approximately two percent of the population. This common skin disease is highly unpredictable and cyclical. Hair can grow back in or fall out again at any time, and the disease course is different for each person.
In a recent telephone interview from her residence in Delaware, Martell said her personal mantra is Gandhi’s famous quote, "'We must become the change we want to see.'"
Martell’s dreams could have been easily come to an end because of her hair loss. However, this determined young woman continued her quest to become Miss Delaware. Martell’s parents convinced her anything was possible and Martell entered the Miss Delaware pageant five times. During the Miss Delaware pageants, Martell competed three times without wigs and twice with wigs.
When asked the question, what is the best advice anyone has ever given you. Martell stated, ʺGod won’t ever given you anything you can’t handle and I believe that.ʺ