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Kayla Martell

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Spokesperson for Recover With Confidence

At eleven years old, Kayla Martell noticed a large clump of hair on her pillow one morning. At the time, Martell had only ever seen a woman lose her hair as a result of cancer. She naturally assumed she had cancer. After speaking with her doctor, Martell was relieved to find out she did not. She was however diagnosed with Alopecia; a challenging diagnosis in itself. Since the age of three, she dreamed of pageants as Martell’s mother had taken her to the Miss Delaware Pageant every year. When Martell’s hair began falling out, she felt very discouraged and disconnected from possibility of ever entering the Miss America Pageant. Over the next few years, Martell’s confidence improved and she became focused on competing for the title of Miss Delaware. When Kayla Martell finally turned seventeen, she was ready to begin the long journey on the way to Miss America.

Even after Martell finally decided she wanted to be a Miss Delaware contestant, she still encountered some big challenges. Following the 2009 Miss Delaware America Pageant, she was confronted by one of the judges after the event. He asked her if she really wanted to be Miss Delaware. Kayla Martell replied with a smile and a positive, “Yes, of course! This has been my dream since I was a young girl.” The judge paused and looked at Martell intently before replying, “Then you really need to wear a wig,” he said. This response shocked Kayla Martell. It made her question herself. She contemplated why something so cosmetic was so important.

When Martell was about to give up, she received some inspiring words from Lilliana, a young girl who also has Alopecia. Martell was in the middle of explaining that she was going to give up on her big dreams to focus on college and other endeavors. Lilliana smiled and said “Why? You are already my Miss America.” Kayla Martell considered these words and the words of the judge. She thought about Miss America as a sign of hope and as a symbol of excellence. After a long debate over her dream, Martell decided to give it one more try and pull out all the stops. She was going to wear a wig to enter the pageant competition.

Kayla Martell then met Mario Rispoli, a GemTress Wig Hairstylist with a specialty for high quality wigs and styling. Martell explains “When Mario put the GemTress Firenze wig on me for the first time, I was amazed. It was terrific! It was not at all uncomfortable and it was very lightweight.” It wasn’t that she had to wear a wig. She chose to wear one. Today, Martell loves to hear stories from others who have had experiences with medical hair loss. Each time she feels a strong connection and truly empathizes with their stories.

The sense of peace that Kayla Martell brought with her during the Miss Delaware Pageant in 2010 carried her through to the final round of the pageant. As the second runner up was announced, Martell remained very calm with a big smile on her face. 

The 2010 Miss Delaware Pageant was different for Martell than the other pageants. There were no clammy hands under the bright stage lights, no racing thoughts about the possible outcomes or the implications of those outcomes. Just poise, confidence and a smile as Martell was determined to enjoy her last Miss Delaware Pageant experience. The sense of peace that Kayla Martell brought with her during the Miss Delaware Pageant in 2010 carried her through to the final round of the pageant. As the second runner up was announced, Martell remained very calm with a big smile on her face. As the first runner up was called, she maintained her statuesque appearance. Finally, Kayla Martell was announced as the new 2010 Miss Delaware America; all of her hard work and dedication over the years paid off! While representing Delaware, she was the first Miss Delaware to place in the Top 10 at the Miss America 2011 Pageant.

Following the 2010 Miss Delaware Pageant, Kayla Martell had numerous duties to uphold, while making appearances at many schools and charity events. One event in particular that stood out to Martell was her experience to help a young girl with alopecia get a Recover With Confidence Hair Makeover. Martell shares, “It only lasted two days. But afterwards this girl she stood up noticeably straighter and spoke with greater conviction, as if she finally found her voice.” Kayla Martell’s work was not done with this young girl. Two weeks later, Martell appeared at the young girl’s school. She told the children that they all had things that made them different. After the students shared what made them different, Martell shared how alopecia made her different. Martell took off her wig and jaws dropped as she spoke to the children about her condition and the way Alopecia effects people. Martell then brought the young girl on stage with her. They stood hand in hand, Martell was bald and beautiful. The little girl posed with a glimmering smile under her Recover With Confidence Wig.

Kayla Martell is now studying Broadcast Communications at Marymount University. She aspires to work as a morning talk show host and to work with non-profit charitable organizations. Martell says “I plan to stay in the Washington, D.C. Capitol area. If I ever do move, it will be to my favorite city — New York City.” Martell plans to have children. If Martell has a daughter, she shares, “I will definitely encourage her to become involved with state and Miss America Pageants. I had great experiences in the Miss America program. I matured and grew as a woman. I gained valuable scholarship money. I met the most intelligent, philanthropic and strong women. The pageants help make you a well-rounded person. I would be proud to have her follow in my footsteps.” Kayla Martell’s advice to other Miss America hopefuls is simple. “Enjoy the ride! Once you receive a title, you find plenty of surprises along the way and the year will go by very quickly. Every day, you will be given an incredible opportunity and you will need to rise to the occasion.”

Kayla Martell has already been through so many ups and downs in her lifetime. From the early onset of her Alopecia, to her title as 2010 Miss Delaware and then to become a Miss America Pageant finalist; Martell has experienced many big challenges and wonderful opportunities. Today, Kayla Martell is a confident, poised and intelligent young woman with a bright future. Martell has a quote that she tries to live by from the infamous Mohandas Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Kayla Martell has always embodied this important perspective. She plans to continue to do so, moving forward with all of her future endeavors.

Today, Kayla Martell is the official spokesmodel for Recover With Confidence. With help from Recover with Confidence, Martell has transformed from a ‘Woman in need’ to become a ‘Woman in fashion’. She confidently wears a variety of Wigs in different haircolor shades, lengths and hairstyles. Kayla Martel shares, “When you take the diagnosis, medicine and patient stigmas away, every woman still wants to look and feel like a woman. No matter what, you always want to feel feminine and look beautiful. You really don’t want to look and feel like a patient. Recover With Confidence has given me the opportunity to have a totally new, versatile and beautiful image. With so many hair textures, lengths, colors and hairstyle design options, high quality professional human hair wigs have also helped me transform from a ‘woman in need’ into an exciting ‘woman in fashion’. With Recover With Confidence, I truly feel like a beautiful woman again!”

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