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Rep. Ayanna Pressley Speaks Out About Her Alopecia

Naturalistas everywhere fell in love with Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley when she first appeared on the political stage wearing Senegalese twists, a protective style that became a signature of the freshman Democrat through her run for office and ascent to the political atmosphere. On Thursday, Rep. Pressley revealed in a video for The Root that she suffers from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss. Mayo Clinic says that a “variety of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata, possibly including severe stress.” Pressley revealed her (gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, incredible, amazing) bald head to the world for the first time in the interview.

Pressley, who, in 2018, became the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, first noticed her hair loss in the fall when reinstalling her twists, becoming aware of patches of hair loss on her scalp. Then, according to her, “it accelerated very quickly,” reaching the point where she was waking up to “sink-fulls” of hair in the morning.

“Every night I was employing all the tools that I had been schooled and trained in throughout my life as a Black woman because I thought that I could stop this. I wrapped my hair. I wore a bonnet. I slept on a silk pillowcase,” she shares in the video. “I did not want to go to sleep because I did not want the morning to come where I would remove this bonnet and my wrap and be met with more hair in the sink and an image in the mirror of a person who increasingly felt like a stranger to me,” Pressley continues.

What was left of Pressley’s hair fell out on a truly monumental day. It was the anniversary of Pressley’s mother’s passing; her mentor, Elijah Cummings, had recently died; and that very day, Pressley voted to impeach Donald Trump. “I was missing her. I was mourning my hair. I was mourning the state of our democracy,” she explains. “…I didn’t have the luxury of mourning what felt like the loss of a limb. 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,” she shared. “And I exited the floor as soon as I could and I hid in a bathroom stall. I felt naked, exposed, vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt betrayed.”

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Who is cutting onions in here?

Pressley wanted to come forward about her condition in order to try to “make peace” with it, and chose to speak out about the condition for “self-agency” and “acceptance.” And because politicians are just like us, Pressley’s named the new wig units she rocks along with her bald head. Our favorite? FLOTUS, because everyone wants to give off Michelle Obama vibes.


Looking for more hair stories? Here’s some we know you’ll love:


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