Updated: Apr 26, 2019
How has having Alopecia shaped who you are?
It's truly shaped me into the person I am. Alopecia taught me to always be kind to others, to be compassionate and caring, and to never judge someone based upon their looks. It's made me strong, determined, empathetic, and loving. It also helps to have a good sense of humor and to always look at the positive side in every situation.
How did your love of basketball lead you to Charlotte?
I was the biggest Duke basketball fan growing up and would always say, “I'm moving to North Carolina!” When basketball season ended after my senior year of college, I moved here and have loved every second of the adventure - I have been in Charlotte for four years now!
How do you choose to live life?
My biggest passion in life is to help, inspire, and love others - I aspire to be a blessing to everyone I meet. I know I have a lot of kids who look up to me, so I always try to set a good example and really live out my faith.
Where do you find your drive during challenging times and events?
I am a very competitive, driven person and love challenging myself - so once I set my mind to something, I do everything I can to accomplish it. A lot of times when I'm training or racing,
I think of all the mean kids and people throughout my life who have made fun of me for my alopecia, for being bald. This always gives me an extra boost in my endeavors - to prove them wrong and to show what they said doesn’t hold any truth or power over me.
Tell us about the Children's Alopecia Project that you are involved with:
Children's Alopecia Project is an incredible nonprofit devoted to helping kids with alopecia boost their self esteem, confidence and just overall perception of having alopecia. It's so inspiring and truly a beautiful thing to watch all of the kids grow up and blossom into these amazing, confident people!
Proudest accomplishments and journey?
After my first marathon during my senior year of college, my goal was to run 27 marathons before I turned 27, which I did this past June in San Diego. I will never forget crossing that finish line as tears welled up in my eyes, my bald head out shining and all of the strangers hugging and congratulating me. It was the BEST feeling (it took me a really long time to love, accept and embrace my alopecia - to be proud to show off my bald head in public, but now it's my favorite feature).
That was the day I decided to hang up my wig for good and I haven't looked back since. It was so tough growing up hiding behind wigs, never feeling confident or beautiful. My wig was a security for me for so long and the only way I felt like I was a “girl.” I was always told girls were pretty with hair and I truly believed that.
I use to never really look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of my bald head, but now I love it. I love doing my makeup and trying out fun styles! For most of my life, I never realized how pretty my eyes were or saw their true color, because I was too embarrassed to really, truly look at myself.
What struggles have you faced in your life?
Learning to love, accept and embrace my alopecia and bald head has been my biggest struggle; it took a good 20 years to finally become okay with me. Alopecia has truly been the greatest gift I never knew I needed.
I struggled a lot with bullies - just plain mean people. I never had the confidence to stand up for myself, so I would just allow it happen and it really made me very quiet and reserved, which isn't who I really am. Even in my present life, people continue to make mean remarks. I am still working towards the best way to respond.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
People always assume I'm an extremely healthy eater with all of the running and working out I do, but I am obsessed with donuts! I eat way more than I should and even make donut stops on my runs.
If you could change anything in the world, what would you change?
I would change the way society defines beauty and what makes a person beautiful. We get so caught up in looks and appearances but it's being a good person, and being kind and thoughtful that truly matters.
What do you love about Charlotte?
I love the weather! I love being outside running, golfing and soaking in all of the sunshine. I'm also a huge sports fan - so I love all the games. There's always something to do.
What are your hobbies? Running, playing basketball, golfing, volunteering, and traveling.
Best advice for others?
Always work hard in everything you do, always believe in yourself, and never give in! There's so much beauty and joy in the world once you find out who you really are.