Bald is Beautiful
A group of American women got together with the idea of redefining the concept of beauty. Men can be blond, brown, red, white and… bald. Why not women? I photographed them in New York as they were that day and I collected their stories too. Some of them have alopecia, some have been through chemotherapy, others simply like being bald.
When I showed the pictures to my clients, every single magazine that saw the story (about twenty) refused to publish it for the very same reason: those pictures might clash with the feminine ideal supported by advertisers. Well, actually one of them had a different problem…
Time passed and I kept trying with other magazines. No way to publish the story. Mainstream magazines have a preference for the Barbie-fication of women, we know that. Anyway, now I am publishing everything on my blog. Meeting those women has been a privilege for me, I want other people to be inspired by them too. After all, their point is not just about bald women. Having the courage to be oneself is a topic that concerns everyone.
Fury, event organizer
I used to hate the hours spent at the hairdressers grooming my hair and so seven years ago I made a decision and cut it all off. Here I am, I am bald and I want to stay bald my whole life. I see it as a statement: I can express my femininity even without hair.
And then I must say it is convenient: I shave quickly every morning and am ready. Before, if I didn’t have time to fix my hair I was anxious. Now I am free of worry, my head is always perfect even on windy days.
People are generally surprised to see me without hair and often ask a bunch of questions as if it were the most bizarre thing on earth, and it’s true that there aren’t a lot of us. If I go to a restaurant, for example, everyone notes me right away. And so when I don’t feel like attracting so much attention I wear a hat or a turban and mix in with the rest of the people.
Being bald has made me understand how much importance we give to a woman’s hair. Without a do that frames my face or a curl to play with, in a certain sense I am more vulnerable. But it’s not a serious problem, actually it’s stimulating and I would dare say it is something like the way blind people heighten their other senses.
I had not originally thought about women who have become bald as a result of chemotherapy. Now many of them are my friends and I am even happier to shave my head and help spread a fashion that will help them feel normal with their round heads.
Marina, police clerk
My husband shaves his head every morning to feel closer to me. He is a policeman and I work at the station. Our daughter is seven years old and for her it is perfectly normal to have two bald parents.
I lost my hair when I was three years old (alopecia) and I felt really isolated, but not from the other children. They didn’t see my baldness as anything strange, but adults did. They were all afraid that I might give their kids some terrible disease, or else they
looked at me compassionately and said “poor thing!”
There were a lot of times when I asked myself “Why me? Why can’t I have hair like everybody else?” Then I made peace with my life, but it took a long time.
In the end, my head never really caused me any serious obstacles, although being “strange” did create some unease. For many years I covered my head with a scarf, a hat or a wig to avoid unwelcome comments. Then I began to stop hiding myself, and naturally I experienced a number of episodes that wounded me. Once at the bank, a man tried to let me go to the front of the line because he thought I was seriously ill. I was offended, but I have to admit that he had the best of intentions. So, at times you are vulnerable in unexpected ways.
It’s only in the past few years that I feel more comfortable, and I owe it to my daughter. I used to worry that in a moment of distraction or play she might pull off my wig when I held her in my arms. How would I have reacted? How would I have felt? And then when it actually happened it was not so horribly dramatic. Actually, experiencing the thing I had feared brought my fears into perspective.
Then I met many other women like me and I didn’t feel so alone any more. The unconditional love of my daughter and my husband and the closeness of my new friends have given me the strength to feel more and more at peace with myself.
Sharon, model and actress
This is how it went: I worked for a record label and was so involved in my career that I
forgot about … myself! When I realized what was going on, I left my job and took a year
off. I did a lot of traveling and thinking. Before I went back to work I went to visit my
parents. I was only going to stay a few days but instead I found out that I had cancer
while I was there and that was the beginning of my adventure.
I met a lot of women who were sick like me. Some were really depressed, while others said things to me like, “cancer saved my life”, or “it was a blessing for me”. You can’t understand these words unless you’ve been through it. When you find out you have that disease you are always thinking about death and you appreciate life much more. You especially realize what it is that is really important for you. I understood that I had to let go of a lot of stupid things and learn things that I had never given any importance to, such as eating well, getting exercise… In other words, cancer taught me to take care of my body, listen to its needs and love myself.
And now that I have survived, I feel the growing need to communicate to as many people as possible that it is important to love oneself. It isn’t easy. For someone like me it really took such a powerful experience to wake me up. But I am determined. I decided to use my image as a bald woman to get people to think and so far things are going very well. I have acted in a few television series, including Sex and the City, and I present myself as an actress with a story, not just with a particular look.