As Pam McKelvy put it, for many a woman, her hair is her “crown of glory.”
For women on TV, that’s particularly true. So it was with heavy emotion that the WMC-TV anchor in Memphis, Tenn., took off her wig on live television after battling cancer.
It wasn’t to show off a bald head — though she did end up losing her hair, which has since begun to grow back — but to reveal her decision to let her hair regrow naturally.
“My hair was part of my franchise,” McKelvy said in her report Wednesday. “Memphians would actually recognize my hair before they recognized me.”
After cancer, McKelvy decided not to chemically process her hair to a smooth, straight texture.
“No more relaxers for my hair,” she said. “I made my choice also because I thought about the message I send to young women about confidence and self-acceptance.”
The decision struck a chord with McKelvy when she considered that what hair must look like to be considered professional is subjective. The news anchor also mentioned the story a Florida student who was threatened with expulsion last year if she didn’t “tame” her hair.
“I want everyone to know, no matter what you go through, it’s not about what’s on the outside, it’s how you feel on the inside,” McKelvy said, showing off her new look and thanking everyone for their support.
Watch McKelvy’s reveal:
Last year, McKelvy opened up more to the news station about her life story. In her younger years, she was a finalist in the Miss America pageant. She later went on to work in news but left after seven years when her son was born.
Once her son, who has autism, was in school, McKelvy decided to go back to work. Little did she know that not long after starting with WMC-TV, she would be diagnosed with breast cancer, putting her illness on a very public stage.
McKelvy had a double mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment to beat her cancer.
Now, McKelvy said she’s feeling well and healthy.
“I am so grateful to God to be here,” she said.