Miss Teen USA wins pageant with natural curls and fans can't get enough

People are applauding Kaliegh Garris' decision to rock her natural curly hair.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Curly hair has never looked so good.

Connecticut’s Kaliegh Garris, who was named Miss Teen USA over the weekend, won raves for competing with her natural curly hair.

"The night before, I finger curled every single piece of my hair in the shower, which led to a very long shower, but it was for the greater good," Garris, 18, told Refinery29. “I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair."

Garris says her decision to go with her natural hair was met with some skepticism when she first got into pageants.

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"There were a few naysayers saying, 'You look better with straight hair,' or 'You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair," she told Refinery29.

Showing off the curls is a decision she doesn’t regret, though, because it makes her who she is. “When I was younger, I debated if it was the right thing. But as I've gotten older, it makes me feel unique,” she told the site.

The response to Garris’ hair has certainly been positive.

"Just wanted to let y’all know our new Miss Teen USA is this BLACK NATURAL HAIRED QUEEN right here. That is all," read one post.

"Kaliegh Garris of Connecticut was crowned Miss Teen USA this weekend. Love her natural hair! Representation matters! Congrats Queen!," wrote someone else.

"I think it’s pretty awesome that Miss Teen USA is someone who accepts her natural beauty and rocks her beautiful curly hair !" another user wrote.

Wearing natural hair is not unprecedented in the pageant world. Deshauna Barber wore an Afro while taking her final walk after winning Miss USA in 2016.

"When you're crowned with a look, then that's the look you're expected to maintain," she told Refinery29. "A lot of people in the pageant world are still very old school. They believe in a traditional look, a traditional Miss USA. [The organization] is trying to, in my opinion, open up that world. So, when I said I wanted to wear my natural hair, they were jumping for joy."