Somebody other than Alyssa Kessel won the title of Miss Montana 2017, and that winner had all the expected attributes, such as hair. (Ho-hum.)
But this post is about Alyssa, who competed for Miss Montana 2017 without hair.
Alyssa went from being "terrified and traumatized" when her hair completely fell out from alopecia during her last month of high school in 2016, to placing as a finalist in the pageant one year later.
"When I lost my hair I kind of freaked out and decided not to go to college," she said. "I never really did anything to tell my hometown about my story." She said many people in her small town knew who she was since her family owned a bowling center and movie theatre, and they were still curious about her hair loss almost a year later.
So when she saw the ad for the Miss Montana contest, she decided to go for it and made positive body image her platform.
"That is something I relate to really well." Although she didn't get the title of Miss Montana in the June pageant, Alyssa was voted Montana's Choice and received a $1,000 scholarship.
Anyone could vote on the Miss Montana America website for $1, and Alyssa resonated with people. "I had people messaging me from Korea that they had voted for me because they have alopecia as well."
Competing in the pageant also opened the next door for Alyssa. She signed on with the Rocky Mountain Entertainment Agency, where she is building her portfolio as a model.
"Everything happens for a reason, and I was obviously put on this path in life for a reason and I'm determined to make the most out of it."