Photo: Instagram / Gail Mabalane
- Your crown, your sense of well-being, your identity. Hair can mean a lot to women. But what happens when you lose it?
- Although very common, hair loss in women is a topic that many tend to avoid.
- Actress Gail Mabalane has always been very open about her hair loss journey and, in this interview, she talks to W24 about the emotional side of hair loss.
Your crown, your sense of well-being, your identity. Hair can mean a lot to women.
But when we attach a high level of importance to what is on our mind, what happens if we lose it?
Although very common, hair loss in women is a topic that many, including women, tend to steer clear of. And when we face it, we do it with fear and shame.
So how can we get around this? How do we let go of our hair without letting go of our identity?
When Gail Mabalane started losing her hair three years ago, she faced this challenge.
“I remember stepping into the industry and having this pixie cut, which almost became my signature look,” she told W24 in an interview.
“People wanted to know where I was doing it, and that was Gail’s gaze. And what I had to go through inside to suddenly free myself [this] – because I had to relax my hair for that look and now I can’t use chemicals anymore – and all of a sudden having to rearrange myself and say “Okay, I can’t do that hairstyle anymore”, and I feel like I’m losing my identity in the change my hairstyle. “
Gail decided to be open about her struggles with alopecia by starting a YouTube channel where she unraveled her journey and becoming a safe space for other women who were having similar experiences.
“I think there’s definitely an emotional journey we’re going through that we need to work on. And I think that’s part of the reason why I shared it because, personally, I know so many women who suffer from hair loss. They don’t say I see it. because I can see the hairline and I can see them hiding it. But let’s not talk about it. “
This fear of dealing with hair loss has a lot to do with not only how society views the problem, but also “how we see ourselves when it comes to hair loss,” says Gail.
Sharing his journey meant he no longer had to hide. “I feel like it’s better for people to know, so that when they see it, they don’t have to say ‘Did you see it?’
“And even for them, for myself, I don’t have to think, ‘Oh, they look and what do they see?’ For me, it was really about opening this conversation. ”
READ ALSO | Hair myths debunked and the truth you need to know about hair loss revealed by an expert
Gail’s inbox is constantly flooded with women losing their hair and looking for a shoulder to lean on. She tells of an interaction she had.
“I had a woman who wrote to me in my inbox when I first went out [about my hair loss] about three years ago and she said that in a month she will get married and her future husband does not know that she has no hair because she wakes up early in the morning and goes to bed after he falls asleep. And this was heartbreaking to me because it means we can’t be fully ourselves due to the value we place on our hair.
“And, of course, they tell us things like, ‘Your hair is your crown.’ So what if you don’t have hair? You lose your crown then?”
Gail says she had to learn to overcome those doubts and “become very confident in who I am as an individual regardless of what hairstyles I have.”
“I have spots on my hair where alopecia has formed scars where my hair will never grow back, and I’m going through the process of working really, really hard to try to protect what’s left and slow the effects going on and on. doing things that aggravate my scalp.
“But it’s also about me finding peace and comfort in knowing that losing my hair doesn’t change who I am as a woman, and I think it’s an important conversation to have because if someone comes up to me tomorrow and says, ‘Oh, yours the hairline is slipping away ‘, instead of getting up, it’s an opportunity to educate. ”
READ ALSO | This is what happens to your hair as you age
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