Mocked For Her Flaky Skin She Overcame Bullies To Become A Beauty Queen.

Culture |

Bailey Pretak, a performer, has been cruelly bullied for her dry, scaly, skin condition.

In a society where first impressions matter, it's no wonder we are obsessed with our looks. Sometimes those unrealistic standards forget about the millions of people around the globe suffering from illnesses or facial scarring. This only makes them vulnerable to bullying and shaming from the trolls of the world.The 30-year-old from Wilcox in Pennsylvania was born with a rare genetic disorder, Lamellar ichthyosis. The condition requires her to exfoliate and moisturize her face, hands, and feet on a regular basis, otherwise her skin will crack.
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

The kids at her school called her "Scaly Bailey."

They feared her condition was contagious. Consequently, no one played with her. "As a child I felt very excluded and left out, I wasn't always included as people were afraid of my skin," she admits.
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

Although shunned from her peers, Bailey found dance, acting, and singing to be her refuge.

"In kindergarten, parents wanted kids moved of out my class or not to touch the toys I played with because they thought I was contagious and there was a stigma similar to leprosy," Bailey recalls.
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

Rather than hide, she made herself known.

Two years ago, Bailey started entering beauty pageants. She has won the titles of Miss Pennsylvania, Ultimate Queen, and Miss Congeniality. The last award is voted by fellow competitors.
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

Bailey is using her platform to educate people about the disorder and is currently traveling across the United States to raise money for the charity Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types (FIRST).

Bailey says "because of my experiences growing up, I never thought a person with ichthyosis could be a beauty queen, you get stereotypes in your mind about what one looks like."
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

"I went from being the shy, insecure girl to being on stage modelling, it's amazing how far I've come," the bankteller says.

"The arts are a huge thing for me, they brought me out of my shell," Bailey explains. "On stage people see the characters I perform, the music I sing or dance to and don't judge me by my skin."
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

Over the years, she has found a way to combat the dry skin caused by the medical condition.

"I shower and lotion my full body once a day to break down the scaling," she continues. "If I forget to lotion one of my arms or the bottom half of my legs, I know I will regret it a few hours into the day when my skin starts to tighten and cracks."
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

Seasons affect her condition.

"Summer is easier for me as it's so humid and my skin looks better, but in winter my hands and feet crack all the time sometimes a quarter of an inch deep," she admits. "Because the skin on my hands and feet crack, it can be especially hard to walk and dance with this condition. But I've learned to deal with the pain the best I can and work through it."
Bailey Pretak / Facebook

People's cruel taunts and comments added to her insecurities.

"At times, I have felt very alone and like an outcast, but I've never given up," she says. Still, that hasn't stopped her from following her passion.
Bailey Pretak / Facebook