The Bald and the Beautiful

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The change took some getting used to in the way people reacted to her.

"I felt very self conscious, very insecure. I was always sort of on guard," she said. "When you don't have hair, somehow the boundaries change and people feel as though they can say sort of whatever they want."

Bridges said that as with Martell many people assumed she was ill or receiving treatment for cancer. To set the record straight, Bridges decided to undergo a sort of unveiling, and she allowed herself to be photographed for design magazine Elle Decor.

"It's a design magazine and that's what I do for a living so for me it was an appropriate venue to sort of come out," she said.

Redefining Beauty

As she "came out" to her friends and clients about being one of the 5 million Americans affected by alopecia areata, Bridges came to redefine herself and what it means to be beautiful.

"There were no positive images in the media that told me that I was OK and to go outside and be bald," she said. "So it took a lot of time and sort of adjusting to find that definition for myself. My definition of beauty now is what I call the Four C's: confidence, it's courage, it's comfort and compassion."

The need to change the standard of beauty is something even a beauty queen understands.

"Beauty comes in all different kind of packages," Martell said. "You could be a beauty queen and not have hair."

Which begs the question, which Kayla Martell, with wig or without, will be showing up for the Miss America pageant in January?

"I've been so lucky that the Miss Delaware organization has told me, 'It's up to you, Kayla.' And I'm still making my decision at this point," she said.

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