A Raleigh woman who lost her hair to an autoimmune disease was crowned Saturday as North Carolina's first bald beauty queen.
Sandra Dubose-Gibson, a married mother of two girls, was selected as the 2011 Mrs. Black North Carolina at a pageant in Raleigh.
Twelve years ago, at age 25, Dubose-Gibson lost all her hair to alopecia, a disease that causes the body's immune system to attack hair follicles.
As Mrs. Black North Carolina, Dubose-Gibson will travel the state encouraging women of all races to value their inner beauty.
"My mission is to be the catalyst that enables women to heal the experiences that have eroded and challenged their self-esteem," she said in a statement. "I am here to help them see the beautiful human beings they truly are and boldly celebrate that beauty and strength from the inside out."
Last summer, Dubose-Gibson talked to WRAL's Dr. Allen Mask about her experiences with alopecia.
She said the loss of her hair left her depressed at first, but she came to realize that her hair didn't define her beauty.
Dubose-Gibson created a support group for women with alopecia, made a documentary about her experiences, and wrote and recorded a song that's a personal anthem about discovering her real beauty and purpose. She works as inspirational speaker.
"I was chosen to carry this burden, and it's not a burden at all," Dubose-Gibson said. "It's really been a blessing for me."