Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) published a video on January 16th on The Root. In that video, she described what living with alopecia areata feels like. She described the physical and emotional stress, and of hair loss and how it affected her as a woman and a legislator. She wrapped the video up with the conviction of personal strength and self-acceptance. She said, “I like myself … So I think that means I’m on my way.” This is a brave step for anyone dealing with hair loss or thinning hair. We hope this will greatly increase awareness of this disease.
The video was picked up right away by Good Morning America, see below. It has also seen coverage in the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, BBC, Slate, and other news sites. We would like to thank Ayanna Pressley for being such powerful on-air spokespeople.
Pressley has been trying different lace-front wigs. “One I call ‘FLOTUS’ because it feels very Michelle Obama to me, [and another] I call ‘Tracee,’ because it feels very Tracee Ellis Ross to me,” Pressley says in the exclusive interview with The Root earlier this week. “I think it’s important that I’m transparent about this new normal,” Pressley said.
Alopecia is the official medical term for baldness according to the American Academy of Dermatology. There is an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata that makes the body attack its own healthy hair follicles, “causing them to become much smaller and drastically slow down production to the point that hair growth may stop”, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
The three most common ways alopecia creates hair loss is in the form of patches of baldness (alopecia areata), no hair on the head (alopecia totalis), and complete hair loss on a person’s entire body (alopecia universalis). All three of these types of alopecia are different from traction alopecia, which is what happens when hair is stressed at the roots.
“I want to be freed from the secret and the shame that that secret carries with it,” Pressley said.