Shilah’s story is an inspiration.

Shilah Madison Calvert-Yin is a 12 year old girl from Australia with a rare genetic condition that causes quite the unique hair texture.

Shilah has Uncombable Hair Syndrome – which means her hair shafts are heart-shaped and missing a protein that makes the strands sit straight. The condition causes hair to grow in a frizzy, unmanageable pattern that defies all attempts at combing or brushing.

Those affected have light-colored hair, described as blond or silvery with a glistening sheen, which does not grow downward but out from the scalp in multiple directions. The result is a striking ‘lions mane’– which for Shilah resulted in ridicule and unwanted attention while growing up.

Shilah’s Become a Symbol of Self-Love

In a Love What Matters submission, her mother, Celeste, wrote “Shilah was born with soft brown hair just like her brother. But as it began to fall out, it was replaced with blonde locks just like my own hair. She was picture perfect, blonde hair, blue eyes, so cliché. But at around 3-6 months of age we noticed something different. Her hair was growing straight up and not flattening down. It was super soft and almost glistened in the light. Others started to comment which made us even more inquisitive as to why and what was happening. ‘Whats wrong with her hair?’ they would say.

It was hurtful and sometimes quite rude, but I’m sure they were just being ignorant and insensitive.”

Shilah spoke about going through childhood with the condition as well, saying “I get teased a lot and called “fluffhead” at school – it’s not nice.” At age four, she even cut off a large part of her hair in frustration, after it wouldn’t pull back into a ponytail. Growing up feeling different is not easy, and it took Silah time, patience, and the support of those around her to fully embrace her “lions mane” and learn to love herself for it.

Her journey to embracing her differences certainly was not immediate, but now she is a beacon of inspiration and symbol of self love for anyone struggling with insecurity of any kind.

This was largely due to Shilah’s mother sharing her story, as well as photos of her daughter, to social media–where it went viral. Shilah Madison is now the face of a popular instagram account, and a representative not just for Uncombable Hair Syndrome, but radical self-love in general. The account now inspires an audience of over 20,000 followers to embrace their own differences.

Spunk, Sass & the Personality to Make a Difference

The bio for the account reads “????Love what makes you different!????”– a succinct summary of the message Shilah and her mother are spreading.

Celeste wrote proudly about her daughter’s process of embracing the condition, saying: “She’d make sweet remarks like, ‘Just call me fuzzy. Some days I look like a lion with a crazy mane.’ Both [Shilah] and her brother Taelan were in childcare when I returned to work, which I think really helped. Kids truly do just say what they are thinking, and this helped shape and strengthen [Shilah].”

“We see big things in her future. She has the spunk, the sass, and the personality to make a difference … if anyone could own the way they look and deal with the comments and stares – she certainly has. ‘You just have to love yourself, mom. Who cares about everyone else?’, she recently told me. She is our inspiration!!!”

Our Differences Make Us Beautiful

Learning to love ourselves isn’t always easy. We all have flaws, imperfections, and things we wish we could change about ourselves. However, it’s important to remember that our flaws and imperfections are what make us unique and special. At some point in our lives, we’ve all been told that we should fit in, blend in, and be like everyone else.

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that we should all look, act, and think the same way to be accepted. However, it’s important to remember that our differences are what make us unique and special.When we learn to love and accept ourselves for who we truly are, we can start to appreciate the beauty in our differences.

Shilah’s story is a powerful reminder of how importance this acceptance is, and an inspiration to anyone who has felt similarly.