10 Most Beautiful 2014
We’re so excited to introduce you to the 10 winners—every single one of them gorgeous both inside and out thanks to their giving natures, goodwill, inspiring personalities or community involvement.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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Fifth-grade teacher at Disney Elementary, co-owner and educational consultant for Impact Educational Services, Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services of Springfield, co-owner and educational consultant for The Impact Center for Enrichment
Charity: Care to Learn
Leisha Baker hopes to inspire her fifth-graders at Disney Elementary School to believe in themselves. Two years ago, Leisha was faced with the same choice: hide who she was, or embrace a diagnosis that would change her appearance forever. “Losing my hair to alopecia was devastating,” Leisha says. “I was horrified and ashamed of my appearance, and my teaching and business always focused on the student, not me. I truly had to come to terms with the fact that my hair does not define who I am as a person.”
Alopecia universalis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to reject hair and can inhibit future growth. Instead of hiding its impact with wigs, Leisha wears hats and uses her diagnosis as an opportunity to teach the lesson of overcoming adversity.
“I always tell my students that we don’t get to choose our challenges, but we get to choose how we respond to them,” Leisha says. “Every child is important and has amazing potential, and I want them to know that I believe in them and for them to believe in themselves.”