Pretak dedicates life to showing beauty is held within

Photo submitted – Bailey PretakPhoto submitted – Bailey Pretak is interviewed by a member of Barcroft Media for an online documentary series that focused on her living with the rare skin condition, lamellar icthyosis, and how she overcame obstacles to now become a motivational speaker.
By: 
Allison West
Staff Writer

Wilcox resident Bailey Pretak has found her calling through dance and motivational speaking. She works with various schools, churches, colleges and conferences to spread her message of confidence with oneself despite insecurities.
Pretak was born with a skin disorder known as lamellar icthyosis, which causes the skin to become dry and crack, often resulting in those layers of skin easily shedding. Through her childhood, Pretak faced bullying and struggled with this factor of her life.
It is now her mission to show those around her that despite differences, whether they be physical or emotional, everyone has beauty and a purpose.
"I used to think I was ugly and I used to hate myself," Pretak said. But in 1994, a new passion would change her world forever.
Pretak joined the April School of Dance with her best friend and found that being on stage, with the crowd far enough away, all they could see was Pretak dancing, smiling and enjoying each performance. Not one eye could see her differences. Under the spotlight, she was only "Bailey the dancer," and no one else. Within those moments, Pretak realized that she was more than her skin.
Over the years, Pretak competed in several beauty pageants, each followed by appearances and engagements with the public. Through these interactions, she found herself sharing her story and discovered she had a message that could greatly impact those around her. In 2014, she created "Uniquely YOU," the title of her motivational speech career, to help show people of all ages that it is the differences that make one beautiful, and that everyone should be able to chase after their dreams, despite any circumstances. She then began working with local schools, teaching and inspiring children who were entering the stage of life where insecurities can begin to hold them down.
The average age range Pretak speaks to is fifth through twelfth grade, and she also includes adults in her target audience.
"We all struggle with insecurities, even people who feel very confident in themselves," she said.
Pretak recently made her speech career official – along with her job at April School of Dance as an instructor – and signed with a booking agent in order to spread her message with even more people. She and her mother also work with Release the Butterfly, a fundraiser program that connects individuals that were born with lamellar ichyosis together.
Pretak holds her faith in God close to her heart, as that is what has pushed her to where she is today.
"Faith has had a huge impact and has helped me get through life. Just to know I am created in God's image, fearfully and wonderfully made, and being used by Him for a greater purpose," she said.
She often performs dance ministries at area churches with her dance group known as Beautiful Feet.
When looking back on her career, Pretak stated that she never thought this would be a part of what she does. As a child, she hated public speaking due to the fact that, unlike on stage, she was in front of everyone. But through pageants, she has built up the confidence to embrace who she is and spread her message. She said that she truly has seen God's hand at work.
Recently Pretak was featured in an online documentary focusing on lamellar ichyosis. The producer of the documentary sought out Pretak on Facebook after seeing several articles about her and her career that emerged last year.
Pretak said the documentary was a way to show that she does not see herself as someone to be pitied or to shine a negative light on her condition.
"I just want to show people that they can be confident with who they are," she said.
The online documentary, produced by Barcroft Media, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcoJ_bq4OEM.
For more information or to get in contact with Bailey Pretak, visit https://www.instagram.com/raebalae/?hl=en or https://www.facebook.com/bailey.pretak.

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