Taylor Hubbard, North Laurel High School senior and 2010 Miss Kentucky Teen USA, will undergo laser surgery to repair her skin after a dog bit her in the face earlier this year.
The Miss Universe Organization, owned by Donald Trump, will be paying for all travel expenses, including hotel stays and flight costs, and Dr. Paul Nassif, the doctor from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, will be performing her surgeries pro-bono.
“I’m so excited. Words cannot even describe that they would care so much about a girl from southeastern Kentucky, go out of their way for me,” she said.
Hubbard has already undergone one surgery here locally, the night of the incident. The surgery lasted 5 and a half hours. Hubbard had to have more than 200 stitches in her face after she was bitten, yet she has no fear of dogs today.
It happened on prom night, May 5. Hubbard, 17, had left the dance, changed into plain clothes and was spending time with friends.
She was bitten by a 5-year-old Siberian husky that was owned by a friend.
“I was petting the dog and then I got right in it’s face. Honestly, I know you’re not supposed to do that,” she said.
“I remember most of it, feelings especially. I was calm actually,” Hubbard continued. “The car ride is foggy, the hospital is foggy.
“They wouldn’t let me see my face,” she said, “but I could feel out the bottom of my chin with my tongue. I knew how bad it was.
“I never panicked, but I was just thinking, ‘what’s the next step?’ I’m not bitter towards the dog.”
Hubbard is no stranger to adversity. She lost her mother, Denna, to cancer just two weeks after she returned home as the winner of the Teen USA competition at age 14.
“For every negative thing in my life, I’ve grown from it,” Hubbard said.“I had a lot of inspiration and guidance. I could never have done anything I’ve done on my own and not any of it at all without my faith.”
Shortly after the incident, Hubbard traveled to Puerto Rico. She had signed up with a friend to join the Hawk Creek Church summer mission trip.
“If the accident had happened one week later, I couldn’t have gone,” she said.
More than 200 joined the World Changes Mission, from many different churches around the nation, to build houses.
On the trip, Hubbard met an Alabama girl who had previously been in a car accident. She went through the windshield, as she wasn’t wearing her seat belt.
“She had had the same surgeries I was going to have,” Hubbard said. “She talked to me about the procedures.”
This did much to calm her fears.
“I was a lot more nervous before I talked to her. She only had two surgeries, the laser and revision.”
Her time in Puerto Rico was also a big lesson in materialism, she said, as the group was forced to throw away all their clothing after the first night. The hotel which they stayed in — the only night of the trip they were to stay in a hotel — had had bed bugs.
Hubbard’s mission team laid concrete and helped to build a new roof for one family while there.
“The house they were in before, the walls didn’t touch the ground. They had a bed and a rusted stove,” she said. “People out there have it so much worse. Community service taught me that.”
For Hubbard, pageantry and community service go hand in hand.
“A lot of pageantry is blown off as beauty only. It’s not about that. It’s not about what’s on the outside that counts; it’s about personality. Through Miss Universe, we learn to make mature and responsible decisions.”
Her next surgery will take place in Lexington in about two months. It’s primary goal will be to smooth the scars and advance the healing, Hubbard said.
From there, she will travel to New York for revision and removal with Dr. Nassif. Nassif will follow up with a microdermabrasion surgery, also in New York, and then Hubbard will be sent back to Lexington for a second laser surgery.
Out of this experience, Hubbard hopes to grow closer to the Miss Universe Organization, as she does want to compete in Miss USA one day.
But ultimately, Hubbard said her life is no different today than it was before she was bitten.
“They (scars) don’t bother me. I could go through my life with them,” she said. “I never placed an emphasis on outward appearances.
“I hope people don’t first notice what’s on the outside. I want to be noticed by my actions.”