Dallas teens proud to be pale on prom night

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 3:05 PM

DALLAS — It's the big night. The corsages, the dresses, the limos... but the pledge?

It is a prom pledge: No tanning. And for students at First Baptist Academy of Dallas, it has unanimous support.

While all proms have a theme, this one is a little different — dress for fun, but wear your real color.

"Girls look beautiful the way they are, in the skin they are in," said senior Kristen Verhuiden, who says she is proud to be pale.

She wants her fellow classmates to avoid the peer pressure of tanning. She says the golden glow has to come from within.

“We're just going to go natural and be confident in who we are," she said.

School leaders got behind the effort right away.

"You always hear about drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, but you don't hear about skin cancer and kids dying from these things," said Head of School Brian Littlefield.

Dermatology nurse practitioner Melodie Young does. The First Baptist mom wants to push the "no-tan" pledge nationwide.

"We all know the dangers of smoking," Young said. "When I was growing up, it was the dangers of not wearing a seat belt, and so every generation we have something new that is a high-risk behavior."

The American Melanoma Foundation says melanoma is the second most common cancer among 15 to 29-year-olds. The foundation blames tanning beds for the disturbing increase in the deadly disease that accounts for 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.

That's why the First Baptist girls are fighting for their friends and trying to look at Hollywood beauties from a different perspective.

"You look at Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift... these are gorgeous and pale girls," Young said.

Pale and powerful — just like these students ending the school year with a simple message: You can be beautiful without being bronze.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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