Little girl with alopecia overjoyed to see MAC model with a bald head
6th March 2020

A little girl who has alopecia was absolutely delighted to see a stunning advertising campaign featuring a bald-headed model.

Four-year-old Iylah Hanley, from Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, spotted the ad while she was shopping with her mum Amelia Palmer earlier this month.

The huge poster featured a close-up image of Parris Goebel, the choreographer behind Jennifer Lopez’s iconic Super Bowl performance, who has a shaved head. 

Mum Amelia says her daughter asked her if the model had alopecia like her, and was so happy to see a woman with a shaved head being presented as beautiful.

‘This morning we walked into [Farmers department store] and the first thing Iylah saw was @parrisgoebel with short hair,’ Amelia wrote in the caption of photos of Iylah posing in front of the advert image. 

‘She goes (with soooo much excitement in her voice), “Mum! Does she have alopecia like me?”’ 

After Amelia explained that the model shaves her hair off, Iylah said; ‘“Wait, so she chooses to wear her hair short?” She then lit up and asked to take a photo with her.’

But the moment was also an eye-opener for Amelia because it revealed to her just how much her daughter worries about her appearance.

‘I find it absolutely crazy that a 4.5-year-old questions whether it’s “cool” or not to have short hair due to her life experiences in such a short time?’ she wrote. 

‘I always tell her that beauty is on the inside, you can express who you are on the outside but what really matters is on the inside but it does hurt that she thinks this way.’

 But ultimately, Amelia thinks that the moment proves just how important visible diversity in media and advertising can be. She loves the fact that Lylah was able to see herself represented in those beautiful images.

‘Anyways take what you want from this wee story I just want to say a massive THANK YOU to @parrisgoebel for expressing who you are in such a beautiful way and giving my baby girl a smile no one could wipe away!’ 


The post inspired hundreds of comments online from people admiring Iylah’s bravery and positivity.

‘She is such a beautiful and bright girl!! She’s gonna take over the world when she’s older… Keep being you Iylah!!’ said one.

The post was even spotted by the model herself – Parris shared the images on her own account, and the MAC team in New Zealand decided to arrange a meet-and-greet so Iylah could meet her new idol in person. 

Iylah and her mum wrote a tribute to Parris, thanking her for changing the little girl’s life.

‘You took me and my family in like we had known you forever and you treated us like we were apart of your family but most importantly you made me feel like the most important little girl in the world – for that I am forever grateful,’ read the post. 

‘Thank you for being the purest soul and for having a beautiful heart. You have changed my life and I love you for it.’ 

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