When Viola Davis was just 28 years old, she lost approximately half of her hair to alopecia areata. As a woman in a profession where looks are especially important, her hair loss was deeply distressing and it took a toll on her self-confidence.
At first she hid her condition, but she has been more open about her hair loss experience in recent years—even discussing it in an interview on pop culture site Vulture.
Davis was the second youngest of six children in the only African-American family in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where she grew up. Her family didn’t have much money and life was tough. “Acting came from growing up in dysfunction. I mean, a lot of great times, but a lot of dysfunction,” says Davis. “I learned that I had a facility to really be authentic with characters, because I was very shy and very quiet, so I could observe life and observe people. So, I could integrate that into my work. The more authentic I was, the more therapeutic it was for me to get out all of the pain and angst.”
When she was first diagnosed with alopecia areata, Davis began wearing wigs everywhere to cover up her hair loss. She wore a wig around the house, at the gym and even had one for special events. “I never showed my natural hair. It was a crutch, not an enhancement…I was so desperate for people to think I was beautiful. I had to liberate from that [feeling] to a certain extent.”
Davis decided at the 2012 Academy Awards she would show her “natural hair”. It was freeing. She still wears wigs sometimes, but now it is out of convenience. She says “it’s an option…when it used to never be an option. I had something to hide.”
Alopecia areata is the third most common form of hair loss according to dermatologists. Though the condition strikes men, women and children, it occurs more often in those younger than age 20. While it’s generally characterized by circular patches of hair loss, in more rare cases, alopecia areata can result in the loss of all scalp and body hair. This type of hair loss occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s hair follicles, though experts are unsure of what triggers the attack.
While the condition is not painful, it can have a significant psychological impact as hair is an important part of appearance. Facing hair loss can be daunting, but knowing that you’re not alone and that you have options can really help. Hair Club offers proven hair loss solutions and serves many clients suffering from alopecia and related conditions. Our hair loss experts are sensitive, knowledgeable and specially trained to provide you with guidance on which option is right for you. Learn more about our non-surgical hair restoration solutions and how you can take control of your hair loss.
Facing your hair loss and realizing you can do something about it can be so uplifting. Join over 600,000 Hair Club clients who have restored their hair and transformed their lives.
Viola Davis is not a Hair Club client.