A Mount Maunganui girl with an autoimmune condition has been left "buzzing" after a Kiwi celebrity choreographer sent her a message on Instagram.
Four-year-old Iylah Hanley was visiting Bayfair Shopping Centre with her mum Amelia Palmer on Tuesday when the young girl saw Kiwi dancer Parris Goebel - who choreographed Jennifer Lopez' Superbowl routine - in a huge advertisement for makeup brand M.A.C.
Iylah has alopecia, and because of Goebel's shaved hairstyle, she wanted to know if Goebel had it too.
Palmer said she believed Goebel "chooses to have short hair" and Iylah quickly asked for a picture alongside the poster.
The proud mum posted the photo the next day on Iylah's Instagram page and tagged Goebel.
She was "shocked" when the dancer responded.
"I am in tears and this completely made my day," Goebel wrote.
"The fact my M.A.C campaign made her feel beautiful is why I do what I do.
"It is my mission to meet this beautiful baby girl and squeeze her! Iylah if you read this, I shaved my head because I feel beautiful and strong like this.
"I realized you don't need hair to be beautiful or feminine, once I realized this, it was my own choice to shave my hair and to be bald and beautiful... just like YOU!"
Goebel shared the post to her 1.4m followers on the social media site, and it has amassed more than 100,000 likes.
Palmer said the timing of it was "crazy" and Goebel just happened to be online when she posted.
"She messaged me within minutes ... this whole thing was meant to happen."
The last 24 hours has been "pretty hectic", Palmer said, with people messaging from around the world and Iylah's followers tripling overnight, now at 1493.
"It's good though, it's another good thing in the world."
Palmer set up Iylah's Instagram page last November. After several months of trying to cover Iylah's head and protect her from potential comments, she decided to "embrace" her daughter's condition.
"When she was born, she had a full head of dark curls," Palmer said.
When Iylah was two, however, she started to lose her hair and was eventually diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition where the hair on the head falls out in patches. She also has another form of the condition which causes the hair to thin.
"Emotionally it's tough ... she thinks she's getting her hair back," Palmer said, because of the cycle in which Iylah's hair grows and falls out.
Some people could be harsh with comments or staring, Palmer said, and she was trying to teach Iylah that it was okay to not have hair.
Kids learnt from their parents, Palmer said, and she was also trying to educate people about Iylah's condition.
"We used to put hats on her all the time ... it almost enabled that behavior."
Since the Instagram page was set up, "they've accepted [the alopecia] for what it is," and "the biggest thing for us is that we love her," Palmer said.
But Palmer will always be grateful for Goebel sharing Iylah's story.
"She's made Iylah feel a certain way, and now Iylah wants to do it [to others] ... as a mum, I think that's really cool."