Beauty pageants often evoke images of orange-streaked fake tans, sparkly tiaras, and blindingly white teeth, but one Utah teen has flipped conventional beauty standards by winning a title in the Miss Philippines Earth USA competition, despite a condition that’s caused her to go bald, according to Yahoo Shine.
The site reports Angelica Galindez, a 19-year-old licensed cosmetologist from Salt Lake City, has alopecia, a condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss. In many cases, the damage to the follicles isn’t permanent, but Galindez was diagnosed at age 12 and went completely bald three years later. Competing in the Miss Philippines Earth USA pageant — and ditching her wig — was her way of conveying that beauty is not one-size-fits-all.
“It was really hard to lose my hair during puberty, so I wore a hat to school, but boys teased me and ripped it off my head,” Galindez tells Yahoo Shine. “As I grew older, I came to terms with the fact that my hair wasn’t growing back, so I decided to own it.”
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