Mississippi mom of three Jessica Smith was told at delivery that her newborn daughter Devina had a lot of hair. What she didn’t expect, of course, was the color of that hair.
Devina Smith, who name means ‘divine’ or ‘heavenly’, was born this year with partial albinism—giving her a unique set of features almost never found.
Her skin still has some color, so she’s not devoid of all pigment like someone who is fully albino. Her hair, however, has no color at all—much to her mother’s shock. According to Mirror UK, she had only ever seen babies with pale blonde hair before. Her daughter, quite literally, is something she’s never seen before.
Pictures of the newborn girl quickly went viral online, as people likened the young infant to a doll, or questioned whether some clever photoshop skills were at play.
Smith insists there’s no trickery at work, though. Her daughter, she jokes, is similar to Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones: snow white hair, but typical coloring otherwise.
Albinism is a genetic condition that restricts a body’s ability to produce pigment, resulting in either partial albinism like Devina’s or full albinism with no pigment at all. This affects hair, skin, and eye color, and generally results in a certain level of light sensitivity for the individuals themselves.
The condition affects an estimated 20,000 individuals in the United States and Europe every year, making it one of the more rare physical conditions an infant can be born with. It doesn’t cause many health problems, but many albinos have vision problems due to the sensitivity of their eyes. With proper sun protection and skincare, people with albinism can lead perfectly normal, healthy lives.
There is a certain increased risk for skin cancer, but that’s simply a result of sensitivity to sun exposure. The genetic condition itself has no direct links to any additional ailments.
For Devina, this is certainly the case so far. She’ll need to get her eyes checked as she gets older, but for now it appears that she has no health concerns at all.
While Smith certainly wasn’t expecting her doll-like daughter’s appearance at birth, her siblings have taken to the family’s newest addition rather quickly.
“My oldest is nine,” Smith explained, “and he was so happy [when her photos were so widely spread].”
“He couldn’t get over her hair, either.”
Born at 7 lbs, 12 oz and 19 inches long, Devina’s newborn photos have travelled far, though, garnering attention both in the United States and overseas. She’s now four months old, and she still has the silvery hue to her hair—which only keeps getting longer as she grows.
Although some children see their hair darken as they get older, it’s unlikely that Devina is going to see anything but a silvery blonde for the rest of her life. As gorgeous as the coloring is, however, it’s hard to imagine that will be much of a struggle for her!