Miss Delaware redefining beauty queen

NEWARK, Del. - December 30, 2010

One of our local contestants, Kayla Martell, Miss Delaware, has a rare disease that has left her without what many people would consider an important asset for a pageant - hair.

Underneath the blonde tufts of her big and glamorous pageant hair, Kayla is bald.

"I couldn't believe that at 10, I was balding, especially being a young girl, your hair is your crowning glory," Kayla said.

Kayla suffers from alopecia areata, unexplainable hair loss.

"Your body is essentially allergic to your hair. There are no proven treatments and no proven cure," Kayla said.

Kayla went through school bald. When she's not on stage, you won't see her in a wig.

"When I go grocery shopping, when I go out with my friends, when I am at home, I am without the wig, that's the real me," Kayla said.

So why wear one in the Miss America Pageant?

"People are so surprised to see a bald woman, let alone a bald beauty pageant contestant ," Kayla said.

When Kayla leaves for Las Vegas exactly one week from today, she's bringing three suitcases packed with costumes, gowns and four wigs for the competition, including a very special one for the talent round.

"The wig that I will be wearing for talent will probably be taped onto my head so I can do all of my turns and everything," Kayla said.

Kayla says she's on a journey to redefine the term "beauty" queen.

"You can be bald and be beautiful," Kayla said.

The fifth time was the charm that crowned Kayla Martell Miss Delaware.

"If I had given up on my first, second, third or fourth try, I wouldn't be here right now," she said.

You can cast your vote online to help Kayla make pageant history on January 15th.

"I think I have made history already just by getting this far," Kayla said.

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