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BRAVE, BALD & BEAUTIFUL: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Reveals Bald Head & Alopecia Diagnosis For The First Time

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley reveals she has alopecia in powerful video and reveals her beautiful bald head for the first time. More inside…

Hair for a woman – especially for a black woman – is our crown of glory. The expression of beauty through various hairstyles has always been important for women in black culture and can be a touchy subject. And, whew, this video almost took us all the way out emotionally.

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley has been known for rocking different hairstyles, such as weaves and wigs, but Senegalese Twists became her signature style. The twists have become synonymous with her political brand and she realized this when she would be greeted by little girls wearing shirts that reads, “My congresswoman wears braids.”

Everything is political, especially hair.



Lately, she has been experimenting with different wigs. Something that appears inocuous on its face.  But there’s a specific reason why she's doing so.  The 45-year-old politician was diagnosed with alopecia.

“I think it’s important that I’m transparent about this new normal,” Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, said in a video for The Root.

If you didn’t know, alopecia is defined as sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap. The autoimmune disorder - alopecia areata - occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles and may be brought on by severe stress.

Rep. Pressley first became aware of hair loss last fall when she was getting her hair retwisted. Not long after, she was waking up “every morning to a sink full of hair.”

She said she did everything she could to try and keep her hair, sleeping on silk pillow cases, wearing a bonnet and more. On Donald Trump’s impeachment eve, the last little bit of her hair came out.

“I was completely bald and in a matter of hours, [I was] going to have to walk on to the floor of the House Chamber, House of Representatives, and cast a vote in support of articles of impeachment. And so, I didn’t have the luxury of mourning of what felt like the loss of a limb," she said in a video.

”It was a moment of transformation not of my choosing,” she shared.

Ayanna called her friend Angela Rye and she connected her to “hair caregiver” Jamal Edmonds. Edmonds was able to create a custom wig for the Congresswoman, hours ahead of the time she was scheduled to deliver her vote to impeach the President of the United States.

“When I saw myself in the mirror, he had done a beautiful job, but I did not recognize myself,” she said. “I was wearing this wig, fully clothed. But in that moment, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d ever felt more naked.”

She now has a collection of wigs that she wears interchangeably.

“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 shared.

After speaking on the House floor, Ayanna hid in a bathroom stall where she was overcome with several different emotions. At that moment she realized she had to be strong for the little girls who looked up to her and decided she was share her story about her condition.

“I want to be freed from the secret and the shame that that secret carries with it,” she said.

Rep. Pressely is still processing her diagnosis and making peace with having alopecia, but she said she’s making progress every day.

“It’s about self-agency. It’s about power. It’s about acceptance.”

Even though she’s still trying to process it all, she’s now revealing her beautiful bald head for the first time. And chick could TOTALLY rock her bald head if she wanted to. She looks GORGEOUS, either way. 

Take a listen to her journey below:

Rep. Pressley was already in inspiration. The courage she has shown sharing her story makes her even more special and inspiring.  We applaud a queen!


Photo: The Root


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