National All-American Miss Pre-Teen Shares Her Message

by | Jun 2024

Mallory Habstritt

Mallory Habstritt. Photos: Chris Emeott

Mallory Habstritt uses platform to speak out about a rare autoimmune disorder.

A decorated pageant winner, a seasoned speaker and a children’s book author are only a few of the accomplishments Mallory Habstritt has under her belt. Her story is powerful, her message is inspiring and she’s only 14 years old.

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s eighth grader thrives on inspiring others, spreading the message that true beauty comes from within. Last fall, the bubbly teen earned the title of the National All-American Miss Pre-Teen at the National American Miss National Pageant in Orlando, Florida. She uses her platform to speak out about living with vitiligo, a rare autoimmune disorder that attacks the pigment of her skin. “I am wonderful and beautiful just the way I am,” a confident Mallory says. “But seeing that and understanding that was hard.”

Mallory was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was in first grade. Following the diagnosis, she began her journey with not only understanding the phrase “everyone is different,” but embracing it, too. “I wore tights to cover up the white spots on my legs,” Mallory says. “I felt ashamed of this new and different thing happening to me. Plus, I had never met anyone who was like me. I felt so alone, and that was tough.”

Fortunately, those feelings didn’t stick. Shortly after her diagnosis, Mallory began competing in pageants. She was immediately surrounded by a community of young women who taught Mallory about self-love and acceptance. “Everyone has differences, and I was accepted because of who I am, not any differences I might have,” she says. “These other pageant sisters showed me through example how to love who I am.”

At the I AM Powerhouse 2023, Mallory Habstritt shares a special moment with her parents, Annalee and Brett, and sister, Meredith.

At the I AM Powerhouse 2023, Mallory Habstritt shares a special moment with her parents, Annalee and Brett, and sister, Meredith.

Mallory’s parents, Annalee and Brett Habstritt, say they embraced their daughter’s diagnosis and called it an opportunity to raise awareness and inspire others. “She uses her voice to raise awareness that any seen or unseen differences anyone has is what makes them beautiful and unique,” Annalee says. “She celebrates people for who they are and encourages them to celebrate, too … We’re so proud of her.”

While winning pageant titles has allowed Mallory a literal stage to spread her message, she raises awareness at school, too. She serves as an ambassador and leader for Where Everyone Belongs, which promotes belonging and inclusivity. “I feel that embracing differences and recognizing them as special and unique is an important lesson for people to learn and truly understand early on and what better way to do that than at school?” Mallory says. “I’m so grateful for vitiligo because it taught me a lifelong lesson that our differences are beautiful and wonderful and allowed me to be more inclusive toward others.”

Mallory says having inspiration come full circle is meaningful. She is now able to help others along with their journey of acceptance—just as her pageant sisters did and continue to do for her. In 2022, she spoke at the World Vitiligo Day Conference in Minneapolis, where she was honored to be surrounded by others who looked like her. “People came up to me afterward and told me I inspired them,” Mallory says. “That was so powerful and meant the world to me.”

Mallory Habstritt was a speaker during the 2022 World Vitiligo Day Conference in Minneapolis.

Mallory Habstritt was a speaker during the 2022 World Vitiligo Day Conference in Minneapolis. Photo: Annalee Habstritt

She’ll get a chance to spread her message even further as Mallory tours the country this summer under her National All-American Miss Pre-Teen title.

As Mallory speaks to different groups on the tour, Annalee says it isn’t just her daughter’s peers listening to what she has to say. Parents are paying attention, too. “Sometimes as parents, we get so preoccupied with different societal expectations of ourselves or of our kids, and we need to be reminded of Mallory’s message,” she says. “Hopefully, if we can reach the parents, kids will hear it from two places—Mallory and again at home.”

Mallory agrees. “My goal is to be able to provide to others what was given to me as far as inspiring others,” she says. “They may not have vitiligo, but they have their own differences, and I want to cheer them on and encourage them to see they’re beautiful just the way they are.”

Instagram: @thenamaapreteen
Instagram: @be_brave_with_mallory
Instagram: @iammalloryhagen
Instagram: @nationalamericanmiss


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