We often see celebrities in such a perfect light that sometimes we forget they can deal with life-changing diseases just like we do. Alopecia is no different; it’s much more common than you’d think, and affects more celebrities than you’d realize (because as we all know, photoshop and hyper-realistic wigs allow the rich and famous to control their images). It’s normal to feel alone when you start to see signs of hair loss; I deal with it now and it can be a real struggle! But, trust me–you are not alone in this. Some celebrities living with alopecia have shared their stories to remind us of that.
As we know, alopecia can be triggered by anything that changes our body, including pregnancy. If you were around when “Wannabe” became popular, then you’ve probably heard of the Spice Girls.
Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham, shared with us that during her pregnancy, she suffered from traction alopecia due to hormonal changes. However, after giving birth, her hormone levels returned to normal, and her beautiful brunette hair is back and as voluminous as ever!
Celebrities That Have Dealt With Alopecia at Some Point or The Other
You may also be familiar with Tyra Banks, the host and creator of America’s Next Top Model.
Around 2011, while she was writing her book, Modelland, Banks admitted that her stress levels contributed to alopecia areata! Though discussing her past traumabrought her to tears, she told the Wall Street Journal that during one period of immense stress and pressure, “eating a meal was chilling for her.”
Back in the day, around 2003, bleaching and wearing extensions was THE thing in Hollywood as everyone eagerly showed off their lustrous, processed locs in music videos, movies, you name it. But when hair is overprocessed, you know what happens next!
Christina Aguilera, the musician and one of the original coaches on The Voice, bleached her hair so much that she developed traction alopecia. She explains her hair loss was so excessive that she had to wear wigs for a while to hide her spots.
Talking about your hair loss can be hard, but I think being alone, combing through your breaking hair and watching it shed away, is truly one of the hardest moments to endure.
You went through this.
I went through this.
Countless others go through this.
For many people, the celebrity whose journey with alopecia hits home the most is Jada Pinkett-Smith, who came forward about three years ago and opened up to the world about her hair loss story on her Facebook show, Red Table Talk. Part Jada’s reason for sharing her story is that people were questioning her choice to wear turbans. Jada expressed how terrifying it was when her loss issue started.
This issue also came back to the limelight and began trending again as Host and Comedian Rock Chris made a joke out of Jada’s hair at the 2022 Oscar event, where he got a nice jab from her lover, Will Smith. This underscores that alopecia is a delicate issue that can create a cycle of insecurity.. Will Smith’s reaction reflects how alopecia can cause emotional and psychological damage as well as physical changes.
When Jada first discovered her alopecia, she was shocked. Like many of us, Jada combed her hair and realized that she was losing it at an alarming rate. She stated, “I was in the shower one day and then just handfuls of hair, just in my hands, and I was like ‘oh my God am I going bald?” Man oh man, did this resonate with me! At first, like other alopecia sufferers,, she struggled to accept that she was losing her hair. She tried every test there was, but no one could figure out the reason for her hair loss. Her hair was what she used to express herself; she was scared that she would not even have the choice to do that anymore. But over time, she realized that her hair loss changed her perspective on life for the better. She remembered that many people face terminal diseases, struggling to live every day! That’s also how I changed my mindset in the height of all my hair loss. While I am totally entitled to my emotions, I needed to humble myself, too, looking at the glass half full to help me handle my “vanity” emotions. I have read many articles and heard different stories, but something about the way Jada shared her journey stood out to me. I was actually crying through her episode because I felt understood. It’s one thing to know that someone’s gone or is going through the same struggles as you, but to know that someone has shared your feelings and inner experiences is even more powerful.
Another celebrity with alopecia is Viola Davis, who discovered her hair loss at the age of 28. She describes it as a source of insecurity and low self esteem, which she had tried to cover up over the years with different forms of hair extensions. However, she has currently come to terms with her condition, and this acceptance makes her feel liberated, unlike when she was trying to gain approval by covering up with wigs.
Different people experience alopecia for different reasons.. For the model, Naomi Campell, it happened as a result of wearing so many hair extensions for a long period of time. Supermodels are known for having no dents or flaws, but alopecia can be impossible to prevent.. Unlike some alopecia patients, Naomi Campell stated in an interview that her hair is now growing back.
For Christiana Millian, her hair loss resulted from childbirth. This experience is quite common, and she recounts how alopecia began a few months after the births of both her daughter and her son. For a new mom dealing with all the other postpartum hormonal imbalances, this condition can be especially emotionally draining.
Does Alopecia affect only women?
Now for the men (don’t think I’ve forgotten about you). Though vanity is often seen as a “womanly” trait, I know the male gender can get insecure about their appearance too. The well-known Doctor Who star, Matt Lucas, lost all his hair when he was six years old. At that age, he began to struggle with insecurities because it was difficult for him to fit in. After all, he was completely bald at a very young age!
So, whether your alopecia is triggered by genetics, hormonal changes, stress, over-processing, or other factors, don’t forget that you’re not alone in this! Alopecia affects many people, so when it happens to you, try to avoid stigmatizing yourself.. Just continue to work with your doctor, find your own effective coping mechanism, and practice proper self-care (externally and internally). Rock your shaved and smooth bold bald look, floss your Amber Rose or Tiffany Haddish look, fix your wig and keep smiling. Assure yourself that, with or without the hair, you are truly beautiful and brave!