‘Painful’, ‘depressing’, ’embarrassing’: Many Hollywood actresses and celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith have spoken publicly about the difficulty of living with alopecia, a condition that causes severe hair loss.
The 50-year-old actress, married to Will Smith, first spoke about her alopecia diagnosis in 2018: “It was one of those moments in my life where I was literally shaking with fear.‘ she said on her ‘Red Table Talk’ program.
The disease became a topic of worldwide conversation when comedian Chris Rock was punched onstage at the Oscars by Will Smith. The first had just made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s cropped hair, which visibly enraged her husband.
“Let’s talk about what it’s like to live with alopecia”launched on Twitter the elected Democrat Ayanna Pressley, who in 2020 revealed the suffering and evil that this affection caused her.
On Sunday evening, Ms Pressley congratulated Will Smith on his gesture on Twitter before deleting his message. “Congratulations to all husbands who defend their wives with alopecia in the face of ignorance and everyday insults”she had written.
In recent years, several actresses have spoken about the impact that the loss of their hair causes, be it from stress, a postpartum condition or Covid-19.
“I have struggled with hair loss my entire adult life”wrote actress Ricki Lake on Instagram in 2020, showing off her shaved hair. “It was embarrassing, painful, depressing, lonely. There were a few times I even had suicidal thoughts”she added.
“It’s not glamorous, but it’s real: I have to take a long shower to pick up the falling hair and throw it away so the tub doesn’t get clogged. Why do actresses never talk about it?”said Selma Blair (Sex intentions) to People magazine in 2011 after giving birth.
– “Stigma” –
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis has also revealed that she has suffered from alopecia for much of her life, trying to hide it with hairpieces. “I had a wig that I wore at home, one that I wore to events, one that I wore to sports. I never showed my natural hair. I really wanted people to think I was beautiful”she said.
Recently, actress Alyssa Milano said she lost her hair after contracting Covid-19. “It’s hard, especially when you’re an actress and a lot of your identity is tied up in things like long, silky hair”she explained.
“Alopecia is no joke”, responded Monday in a press release from the California-based National Alopecia Foundation. †It is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes other parts of the body.”describes the Foundation.
This condition affects about 7 million people in the United States and some 147 million worldwide, she notes.
“It can have a significant emotional, psychosocial and mental impact…Many people are dealing with pain, and the best we can do is support them and challenge the stigma and discrimination that persists”insists that the President, Nicole Friedland.
Some were surprised Monday that Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s cropped hair during the Oscars, saying he was aware that this was a sensitive topic.
Indeed, in 2009, the comedian had addressed the complex relationship between black women and their hair in a documentary, “Good Hair,” which he co-wrote and of which he was the narrator.
Chris Rock had explained that the idea for this movie came to him from one of his daughters who asked him why she didn’t have “beautiful hair.”
In any case, Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock will have served to highlight a topic that’s much more present than we think.