Gerardo Garmendia
Julie Mazziotta
August 17, 2016 12:45 PM

Andrea Salazar isn’t letting cancer make her feel less than beautiful.

The 17-year-old high school student from McAllen, Texas, lost her hair during treatments for stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma, according to BuzzFeed.

But undeterred, the aspiring model organized a “princess” photoshoot celebrating her newly bald head with photographer Gerardo Garmendia.

Gerardo Garmendia

“Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess,” Salazar posted on Twitter, along with the photos. Her tweet quickly went viral, racking up 98,000 retweets and 200,000 likes.

Doing the photoshoot without any hair – real or fake – was a big step for Salazar, who says she used to be afraid to go outside with her bald head.

Gerardo Garmendia
Gerardo Garmendia

“A couple of months ago when my hair first started to fall out I would have never imagined of being able to go out in public without a wig,” she . “I had lost most confidence in myself.”

Gerardo Garmendia

“But along with many other things, this journey has taught me to love and accept myself regardless of the way I look. I’ve learned that the hair on someone’s head doesn’t define who they are as a person, but their actions and the way they treat others. All girls are princesses, and today I feel beautiful inside and out.”

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And losing her hair, or fighting cancer, isn’t stopping Salazar from reaching her dreams: She announced in early July that she signed with a modeling academy.

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