Miss Minnesota Jr., living with vitiligo, uses her platform to empower others

An Osseo girl living with vitiligo won Miss Minnesota and is using her platform to help others feel comfortable in their own skin. 

Mallory Habstritt, a fifth grader from Orono, who lives with the condition vitiligo, is using her platform of Miss Minnesota to empower others to be confident and comfortable in their own skin. 

"I want to empower other girls to embrace who they are and be confident," Mallory said. 

Mallory won the Miss Minnesota Jr. Pre-Teen in the National American Miss pageant in July. Before handing the crown off to the next winner this summer, she’s using her platform to encourage others to be proud of their differences and love the skin they’re in. 

When Mallory was growing up participating in dance, she and her family started to notice some patches of lighter color skin on her legs. Later, they would learn Mallory has a condition called vitiligo, which impacts the pigment on a person’s skin. 

"At the beginning I wouldn’t wear shorts because it’s all over my legs. I would just wear pants, even when it was so hot because I was so ashamed of showing people," Mallory said. 

As she got older, she started to gain confidence, despite her differences. That confidence lead to success on the stage. 

"It’s a part of me, that’s who I am and I shouldn’t be ashamed to show that," Mallory said. 

Her mom, Annalee Habstritt, says her young daughter’s commitment to embracing herself and encouraging others to do the same is an inspiration to many. 

"If a child can see life in such a beautiful and powerful way where we embrace everyone and ourselves for who we are, it just inspires me to be a better person too," Habstritt said. 

Mallory hopes that by sharing her story she will inspire others to love their own skin too. 

"I find that confidence in being myself and knowing that I can do something," Mallory said.