Photo Courtesy of Daniella Wride's Instagram
Seven-year-old Gianessa Wride has a new attitude about beauty and hair, after suffering from alopecia. She is changing beauty standards with boldness and grace after recently winning her school's "Crazy Hair Day" contest.
The Utah first-grader's story is now going viral and is inspiring others who are suffering from this disease.
"There are so many that are reaching out and showing love and support for her and for other people in the alopecia community," her mother Daniella Wride told CBN News. "It is pretty amazing how much inspiration she has provided to not only those that are her same age, but to those that are much older than her."
It all started in January when Daniella first noticed that her daughter's hair was falling out in clumps.
"I started to brush it, and there was a lot of hair coming out with the brush," Daniella told KUTV-TV.
A doctor told Daniella that her daughter may have alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes the hair follicles to fall out.
Twenty days later, all of her hair was gone.
"It was upsetting to her," Gianessa's mother told PEOPLE, "and it was hard for me as well, but not because of what she looks like. I was more upset thinking that somebody might bully my daughter and I didn't want her to ever feel less beautiful than she is."
Daniella said she wanted to encourage her daughter about the situation.
"You can't beat around the bush with kids. And instilling false hope, I think, it's kind of cruel in its own way. So we just let her know that her hair was falling out and it probably wasn't going to grow back," she told CBS News.
"And we also tried to let her know that she's still herself," she said. "She just doesn't have any hair; she can still emphasize her personality through fashion choices. She can still do art and dance and do karate."
It's an attitude Gianessa is embracing with style.
During Spirit Week last month, the Wride family was tasked with coming up with a creative way their daughter could be a part of "Crazy Hair Day" at school.
Daniella said she did not want her daughter to feel like an outcast and wanted to come up with something fun for her.
She went to the craft section of Walmart and was instantly inspired.
"I came across these scrapbook sticker jewels. They just fit her personality. She's so vibrant and full of life and she loves everything sparkly," Daniella said.
Gianessa said she was nervous about going to school at first, but that quickly changed.
"When I walked in, everyone was crowding me about the jewels," Gianessa recalled.
She won her school's contest and told PEOPLE that she has a new bout of confidence.
"I was sad at first when I lost all my hair," she said, "but now I love being bald. I can do things to my head that other kids can't. I'm thinking now it might be fun to decorate my head with some sparkly butterflies and flowers."
Daniella is proud that her daughter is serving as an inspiration to people and she hopes this brings a greater awareness about alopecia.
"Your hair doesn't make who you are — it's what inside that counts," Daniella said. "That's what we tell Gianessa. People feel inspired by her, and that's wonderful. We're hopeful that she'll show other bald kids that they can also embrace their baldness and can rock any look they want, in any way they can."