Behold! A Black woman standing in her glory!
Congressional Rep. Ayanna Pressley got very candid in a new interview with The Root, where she revealed that she has alopecia, unveiling her bald head for the first time and confirming what we already knew, she is truly beautiful.
Pressley said she just became aware of her condition recently. “In the fall, when I was getting my hair retwisted, is the first time that I was made aware that I had some patches. From there, it accelerated very quickly,” she said in the interview.
The Democratic rep is known for her signature twists, a style that has become intertwined with her political brand, a symbolism of freedom for Black women professionals everywhere. She said she decided to come forward to the public about her condition because she “thinks it’s important that [she’s] transparent about this new normal.”
Alopecia areata, the condition Pressley has been diagnosed with, is described as an “autoimmune disorder that makes the body attack its own hair follicles, causing hair production to slow down to the point that hair growth may stop,” according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
A 2019 study by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that African Americans experience alopecia areata at a higher rate, with more than 48% of the population studied during a Boston survey showing hair loss, The Root reports.
This new normal, another task on top of being the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, was a lot for Pressley to handle. She said that the last bit of her hair fell out the night before 45’s impeachment, a night that also happened to be the anniversary of her mother’s death.
“I was completely bald. And in a matter of hours, was going to have to walk into the floor [of] the House Chamber … and cast a vote in support of articles of impeachment. And so I didn’t have the luxury of mourning what felt like the loss of a limb. I was missing [my mother]. I was mourning my hair. I was mourning the state of our democracy. I was mourning my mentor, Chairman Elijah Cummings. It was a moment of transformation, not of my choosing. But I knew the moment demanded that I stand in it and that I lean in.”
And lean in she did. She called her friend, political commentator Angela Rye, who connected her to master hair stylist Jamal Edmonds, who quickly created a customized wig for Pressley. She did her duty and although Edmonds had done a beautiful job, she still felt vulnerable and said she didn’t recognize herself. That’s when she decided to go public.
“I want to be freed from the secret and the shame that that secret carries with it. It’s about self-agency. It’s about power. It’s about acceptance.”
While she is still adjusting to her lived experience, Congresswoman Pressley is embracing this moment and is experimenting with different hairstyles and wigs. “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 said.
“I’m trying to get to a place where I give myself the space to be, to find joy in options,” Pressley said.
Thank you for your vulnerability and your transparency Congresswoman Pressley. We hope that you find support from this community, knowing that you have truly liberated others through your story.
Check out her remarkable journey below!
Keep inspiring us all!
Photo Courtesy of The Root