Monday, 01 June, 2020


U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley goes public with alopecia and baldness

Adam Glanzman  Getty Images Adam Glanzman Getty ImagesMore
Bennie Garza | 18 January, 2020, 22:15

Pressley kept her hair loss a secret, revealing her condition only to close friends and family, but she knew she would go public when she felt ready. First, she opened up about her previous Senegalese twists hairstyle - a signature look that she started wearing four or five years ago.

Her hairstyle also became a political statement to some who saw them as an expression of racial pride. The hair loss continued, and she woke up every morning with less and less hair on her scalp-despite efforts to stave off hair loss by sleeping on silk pillowcases and in bonnets, she said.

"My twists have change into such a synonymous and conflated a part of not exclusively my private identification and the way I present up on the earth, however my political model", she stated.

Although the act of going public with her struggles took a lot of courage, Pressley noted that for her it was the first step in walking in the newness of who she is and she hopes that her transparency will continue to inspire others. It then quickly accelerated. "But I'm making progress every day, and that's why I'm doing this today".

"I'm a black woman in politics", Pressley says simply. I wrapped my hair. While the former Boston city councilor has said she had been advised against the hairstyle early in her career, it became a source of affirmation, not only for herself, but for black women across the country.

Other forms of the condition include alopecia areata, which causes patches of baldness; alopecia totalis, which causes total baldness on the head; and alopecia universalis, which leads to complete hair loss all over a person's body.

The freshman congresswoman and member of "The Squad", along with three other female first-term congressional lawmakers of color, said in a video for The Root that she realized she had patches of hair missing in the fall when she was getting hair re-twisted.

Pressley appeared without her wig at the end of the video, which was shared widely after it was published and made national headlines. She is now making peace with alopecia.

Pressley said that the "last little bit" of her hair fell out the day before the House voted to impeach Trump last month. "I didn't have the luxurious of mourning what felt just like the lack of a limb", she admitted.

Alopecia areata is a situation when an individual's physique assaults its personal hair follicles leading to hair loss, in keeping with the Academy of Dermatology. "It was a moment of transformation, not out of my choosing". After casting her vote she went to the bathroom stall feeling " Ashamed" and " embarrassed".

"I felt naked, exposed, vulnerable", Pressley said.

Ayanna Pressley, Boston Metropolis Councilwomen and Home Democratic candidate, offers a victory speech at her major night time gathering after her opponent Mike Capuano conceded on September 4, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. "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", she reveals. And her bond with her culture and her supporters grew stronger, too, she says.

"My husband says I don't - you know, that everything doesn't have to be political", Pressley said. "There's nothing extraordinary about me, I don't think I did anything exceptionally fearless yesterday".

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