An 11-year-old ‘diva’ has become an internet superstar and built up a vast following on social media — despite suffering from a super-rare ageing condition.
Adalia Rose, from Austin, Texas, has racked up nearly 170 million views on YouTube and more than 13 million likes on Facebook with her hilarious videos showcasing her infectious personality.
But Adalia has Hutchinson — Gilford progeria syndrome — a genetic condition characterised by the signs of accelerated ageing, which affects less than 500 people worldwide.
Researchers say progeria is caused by a mutation in a gene called LMNA which produces the Lamin A protein, used to hold the nucleus of a cell together.
In additional to premature ageing, other symptoms include dwarfism, lack of body fat and muscle, loss of hair, visible veins, a high pitched voice and stiffness in joints.
Aralia’s mother, Natalia Pallante, 29, said: “When Adalia was born, I think it was she was like a month old and they weren’t happy with her growth.
“That was one of the symptoms that first popped up and then it was also that the skin on her tummy was really tight and just different looking.
“She was diagnosed at maybe like three months old. That’s when the real changes started happening. She started losing her hair and her little veins started showing up more and her skin started thinning out a lot more.
“I was a single mum at the time, so when I got the diagnosis I was alone. It was just her and I and I honestly felt lost.”
The average life expectancy for a child with progeria is 13 years old but despite her heath issues, Adalia, now 11, is relishing her internet fame — although she admits she can be a bit of a diva.
“I guess I am a diva, because I always get what I want!” Adalia said.
Dad Ryan, 31, added: “Having a social media superstar 11-year-old, it’s crazy, especially when we are out in public — you know lot of people recognise her.
The family say they live ‘day by day’ and avoid discussing life expectancy with their daughter so as not to fill her with fear.
“We don’t even really say the word ‘progeria’ very often, we just treat her like a normal 11-year-old and try to give her the best life,” Ryan said.
Her social media channels have blossomed into a huge success and feature Adalia singing and showing off her make-up skills.
Natalia says “She sees herself as being different. Sometimes there’s days where she says ‘I wish I was taller, I wish I had hair, I wish I looked like everybody else, I wish I could do what everybody else can do.’
“But then she’ll be like ‘Who needs hair anyways, I have a bunch of wigs, I can have different hair everyday’.
“My favourite thing about being her mom is just watching her grow and seeing just how different she is from everyone.
“She is just so rambunctious and everyday is something new with her, so it’s always exciting.”
“Adalia has changed my life completely, it’s not like I was hateful but I wasn’t nice to myself. I wasn’t thankful. I didn’t realise what life was until she was born,” her mum added.
“Her followers say good things to her all the time, that you are so cute, I love you you’re so beautiful, I love the way you dance, I love your videos. They have constant comments of how she’s inspirational and how she doesn’t let anything stop her and they’re right. She loves those comments.”