Bald. Bold. Beautiful.

By: Kylie Bamberger

Wellness , Activist

People -- especially women -- tell me how sorry they are that I have lost ALL of my hair. THERE IS NO CURE.

Being that our viewpoints on beauty are dictated by the media and what we commonly expect to see, young girls afflicted with Alopecia often lose their self-esteem and are bullied. Most of us resort to tattooing our eyebrows, wearing wigs and trying desperately to look “normal.” No one should feel less feminine, or less of a person, because they don’t have hair.

The condition I have -- Alopecia areata -- will affect more than 6.6 million people in the United States and 147 million people worldwide at some point in their lives.  Hair loss occurs because the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles within the scalp. My condition is most common in people younger than 20 years of age -- which affects as many as 3-million American youth each year!

I seek to dismantle Western ideals of beauty standards which put girls like me in a perpetual state of mental imprisonment. The media continuously focuses on the external aspects, but the reality is beauty emanates from the inside out. I refuse to conform. I choose to be me.

​This image has been copied, altered and used so many times, it literally went viral! In fact, a non-profit organization saw the image and started their own movement, inspired by the message: “This is Me.” Appropriately named, This is Me Foundation, is used to raise awareness about alopecia amongst other conditions.

The message I wanted to world to undersand is that I AM NOT SICK! Being bald, I find myself repeatedly explaining to the public that I am not going through chemotherapy or treatments. In fact, the lesson Alopecia can teach others is that girls and womeen who are affected can actually grow stronger with the right mindset. My strength came from teaching others and explaining what Alopecia is because it is a celebration of what makes us unique.

My photo reveal wasn't a reveal for sympathy, it gave me an opportunity to be a new kind of poster child for beauty.

Team Members

  • Kylie Bamberger

    Founder

    My story begins like millions of others, with a simple, innocent bald spot. By 12 years of age, I never considered what that would ever lead to. Fast forward 3 years later when within a week, these bald spots went from small and easily hidden to 90% hair loss. It had become so thin we decided to shave it and celebrate the beauty instead. My hair loss progressed to total body hair loss and 10 years later I stand here to challenge stereotypes and beauty ideals.

Impact

Kylie Speaks at Oak Park High School's Awareness Week

Jan. 14, 2016

Every year, Oak Park High School hosts an awareness week with various themes. This year's theme was resilience, and when former OPHS graduate spoke with peer counselors back in December, she knew this was going to be a wonderful opportunity. Speaking to a group of 70+ students, her overall theme was Educating through Adversity. Using your uniqueness to your advantage, and educating others to encourage understanding and acceptance. For a small clip of Kylie's speech, click here

Kylie Bamberger speaking at Oak Park High School

Things Not to Say to an Alopecian

Jan. 7, 2016

I wanted to have a little fun making a reminder video to everyone that might not know how to approach someone with Alopecia. Often enough, we are faced with awkward and sometimes uncomfortable situations bause of how we look. Hopefully, those with Alopecia can relate and share along to their friends, as a useful and amusing tool to help generate conversation about hair loss. 

10 Facts About Me

Dec. 8, 2015

 

 

A quick clip with a little background on who I am and what my goals are. Hope you take the time to watch and enjoy, and maybe gain a little more insight into my life! Thanks for sharing & subscribing!

is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Oct. 1, 2015

According to a new study published October 1, 2015, researchers were abe to show that a difference in opinion relating to beauty standards are mostly a result of personal experiences that are unique to each individual.  

The trouble with hair loss -- especially for women -- is that it is also considered a loss of beauty. Seriously, the emphasis media places on hair gives young girls (and their parents) a standard they think they have to live up to. For example, look at the focus on Jennifer Aniston’s hair throughout the 10 years the show Friends was on air. There have been styles named after her character, simply called “The Rachel.” This kind of attention only draws larger focus to how important hair is for women and it has become a part of our culture. ​Shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s teach our youth the stress of dying your hair from brunette to blonde, rather than the importance of loving who you are regardless of how your hair looks.

Beauty standards like these drive people like me to wear wigs initially.  

Does one "look" catch your eye as prettier than the other?

Why I Want Everyone to See My ‘Coming Out’ Photo

Sept. 25, 2015

I was diagnosed with alopecia areata when I was just 12 years old.  First, we found a couple bald spots on the back of my head. Easily disguised, these spots would come and go without notice but never affect my day-to-day life. In 2005, that would all change. On break from school for Easter holiday, my hair began to simply fall away. It began in the shower when I noticed an abnormal amount of hair fall out when shampooing. Within a week, I had lost 90 percent of my hair.



Read more: http://themighty.com/2015/09/why-i-want-everyone-to-see-my-coming-out-photo/#ixzz3okloFPsS

14 Bald, Bold + Beautiful Alopecia photos

Sept. 23, 2015

Alongside 13 other bald, bold and beautiful women, I was featured in Bustle Magazine!

READ MORE: http://www.bustle.com/articles/110219-14-photos-of-people-with-alopecia-that-show-how-beautiful-bald-really-is

Redefining Beautiful!

Sept. 10, 2015

"THIS IS ME" inspires powerful blog and photo:

"I don’t think I’ve ever fit into the mold of what people perceive as beautiful, I have crooked teeth, I’m not Barbie doll thin, I wear what I feel like, and I’m bald. Yet even with all the labels I see of what beauty is supposed to be I’ve never stopped smiling, or starved myself, or hid behind a wig. This is me. Why should I hide what I look like just because societal norms don’t find it attractive, or see being bald as a weakness or “butch”? (Yes I have been told I look butch or like a man not some of the nicest comments I’ve gotten but hey what can you do?)"

READ MORE: http://redefining-beautiful.webs.com/apps/blog/show/43530808-life-is-to-short-to-hide-in-the-shadows-mackenzie-murillo 

5-year old with Alopecia signs modeling contract

June 4, 2015

Shout out to five-year-old Syndey Caraher, who signed a modeling contract! This is an important step in our quest to redefine beauty!

Read full story here: http://www.bustle.com/articles/87513-5-year-old-with-alopecia-signs-modeling-contract-is-an-inspiration-to-all

Funny Alopecia Problems!

May 19, 2014

Anyone with hair loss can relate to this. Funny Alopecia problems: being cold, beauty, make up, eye brows and feeling feminine. Just a short video covering some things that come with being bald. (Apparently I felt like saying "guess what" 10+ times. Whatev's) Questions answered from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about what some of the difficult aspects of being bald are.

Please like, share and subscribe for more videos! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaZVtcAqsFSZ4LgWiWw9CLg


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