Pursuing a chance to help others

WILCOX – Bailey Pretak of Wilcox never aspired to be a model, but always loved being in front of the camera. This desire has motivated her to enter the Maurices Main Street Model Search. The contest is through the Maurices clothing store chain, and the winner will be featured in all of the advertising and receive $7,500 to go to a charity of the winner’s choice.Pretak entered the contest by submitting photos and an essay. Now she is relying on the public to enter the next round. “Now is the voting period which goes until March 19,” Pretak said. “The 100 girls with the most votes move on to the next round.”Becoming a model for Maurices means more to Pretak than just winning a contest. Struggling her entire life with a skin disorder called Lamellar Ichthyosis, she wants to show the world beauty is more than what is on the outside. “The biggest thing is to show people that you don’t have to have perfect skin to be a model,” Pretak said. “If I could be a model and obviously have something wrong with me then I can show people the outside doesn’t matter.”If given the chance, Pretak is unsure she would change her skin because it is a part of her. “I don’t really know if there was a cure if I’d take it because it would be different to have normal skin,” Pretak said. “My skin has shaped my life and I feel God made me this way for a reason.”Growing up wasn’t easy for Pretak, and she wants to help others along the way. “My family has always been great,” Pretak said. “And eventually I got to a point where I believed everything they’ve been telling me. I want to try to teach girls when they are young to believe they are strong physically and emotionally so they won’t have to grow up with eating disorders or be bullied.”Being strong physically and emotionally is what Pretak instills in girls who attend her Princess Tea held at the First Baptist Church in Johnsonburg. Pretak began leading the Princess Tea ministry last January for elementary age girls to share the truth about beauty. “I want to teach the girls that you don’t have to have perfect skin, makeup or expensive clothes to be beautiful,” Pretak said. “We’ve been told that girls in magazines are beautiful, but so many of them are touched up. I want these girls to know that they are beautiful just the way they are.”Pretak has elected the First Baptist Church to be recipient of the $7,500 if she were to win the model contest. Pretak said the Princess Tea is among many other ministries her church does to reach out. “I decided on the First Baptist Church in Johnsonburg because I feel they really do a lot for the community,” Pretak said.You can support Pretak and her efforts by visiting www.mauricesmainstreetmodel.com. Voting can be done once a day every 24 hours. Pretak suggests entering her name in the search engine for faster voting.Pick up a copy of the Thursday, March 8, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.