BIPOC Celebs Who’ve Opened Up About Alopecia

naomi campbell
Photo Artwork: Joy Adaeze

The Will Smith-Chris Rock Oscar slap heard round the world caused shockwaves in Hollywood and beyond, but if there was one positive, it was more people learning about the disorder alopecia, which caused Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss.

Pinkett Smith has been vocal about her alopecia struggle for years and her candor may be part of the reason why so many more celebrities have since opened up about their hair loss due to alopecia. 

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As it affects 6.7 million Americans, alopecia is nothing to be ashamed of, or to hide. Black women are also more susceptible to traction alopecia, which is caused by hairstyles that pull hair tightly at the root. 

But these celebrities show that hair loss, as devastating as it can be for some, doesn’t take away from their identity, their power, or their beauty.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada recently posted an update: Her hair’s making a comeback! With hair or without, no one can deny she’s a fierce and gorgeous woman.

Tyra Banks

The supermodel and smize queen suffered stress-induced alopecia when she was writing her YA novel, Modelland. “How can I say this without tearing up?” Tyra told the Wall Street Journal. “I got a little alopecia from the stress.”

Viola Davis

The Oscar-winning legend shared how she lost her hair from alopecia at the age of 28 with Vulture. After wearing wigs for years as “a crutch,” the actress revealed her natural hair at the 2012 Oscars and she hasn’t looked back since. “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are,” says Davis.

Naomi Campbell

In 2010, the fashion icon was photographed with bald patches and a receding hairline. It was traction alopecia, caused by years of extensions, weaves, and braves. Since then, the supermodel has taken better care of her hair and it’s grown back, but she’s just fine with wigs, too. “Everybody in the world wears wigs,” says Campbell. “It doesn’t matter any more. I do what I want, or whatever the job calls for.”

Ayanna Presley 

The Massachusetts Congresswoman, who was known for her signature Senegalese twists, bravely shared her struggle with alopecia. “I am making peace with having alopecia,” Pressley says. “I am very early in my alopecia journey. But I’m making progress every day. … It’s about self-agency, it’s about power, it’s about acceptance.”

Maggie Kim

Maggie Kim is a writer, editor and content strategist for startups (We-Ar4, Fitz Frames) and global brands (H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Lancôme). Her byline appears in Grazia, Glamour, Marie Claire, Bon, WSJ, Cosmopolitan, People and more. Maggie is an advocate for family court reform and splits her time between Paris and Los Angeles.

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