Luciana Naldi
Luciana Naldi
Guiding you to your healthy, happy place.

Alopecia Warrior and Beauty Rebel

" You're not a little girl trying to make something of herself. You're a woman who has been victorious in battle. Show up like one " 

 

These are the words that have echoed in my head every moment since the day I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and shaved the last remaining patches of hair clinging to my head. Not because I was protesting something, making a fashion statement, or because I have a life threatening illness. But because I have alopecia, which is quite simply unexplained and somewhat sudden hair loss. Little did I know the incredible journey that one choice would take me on. A journey through my beliefs about body image, beauty, femininity and what being a woman means and looks like for me personally. A journey that connected me with the most amazing projects and people from all over the world and ultimately more with myself and who I wanted to be.

This is my story. 

 

What do I do now?

Those were the words running through my head when this started back in college for me as a 20 year basketball player who discovered a rather large bald spot front and center above my forehead one day.  I did what any freaked out person would do.... I tried to hide it. With hats, beanies, anything. I finally saw a dermatologist who gave me some topical rogaine and sweet sassy molassy my hair grew back! Problem solved. Fast forward almost 20 years later to my second set of twins, hormones raging and my hair is thick, curly and sprouting from my head faster than a chia pet. 

Then over the course of 2016 it slowly started to fall out. First a little patch above my ear. No big deal. A headband can hide that.

Then the entire underside of my ponytail, right above my neck. Ok, now I need a bit bigger headband. Still not too worried. 

Then the bald patches started to grow up the side of my head and chunks started falling out from the top. Ok, you have my attention now. I spent both money and time pursuing answers, opinions, tests, treatments, and healing from a variety of both traditional and non traditional sources. 

Nothing helped, and it was getting past the point of being able to hide it. I started wearing scarves, beanies, hats AT ALL TIMES. My husband was concerned. My parents were freaking out. I was at the end of the options I felt comfortable pursuing. 

And then it came to me... what if I just shaved it? What if I DECIDED what was going to happen next instead of WAITING to see what was going to happen? 

The first things that went through my mind when I thought of shaving my head were "holy shit, people are going to see more of my face!" Funny right? Not so funny to someone who was teased all through high school for having a very roman Barbara Streisand-ish looking nose. The 15 year old mean girl voice in me started to chitter chatter and I could feel myself getting nervous, running through scenarios of people staring, laughing and pointing.  That didn't happen.

What did happen was the 38 year old WISE, WARRIOR woman in me decided to step in and speak up. 

Here's what she  said; 

That face has laughed, cried, and kissed boo boos of crying children. It's shown excitement, encouragement and enthusiasm through broken bones, broken hearts, back surgery, and 2 sets of twins. It is the mirror that reminds you of who you really are and what others see and welcome into their hearts, and lives. It has a lifetime of challenges FACED and overcome and this one will be just another stepping stone. 

That empowered me. That uplifted me. Those words rang in my head as I shaved it, children watching and it fell softly to the floor, along with every outdated belief, mean word and doubt I ever had about myself as a person and a woman. 

What happened next...

Below are the videos I shared as I was going through the process of moving through the world as a now bald woman and all the emotions and experiences that came with it.

As a result of sharing my story I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Dove, first on their Real Beauty campaign and most recently on their ShowUs campaign where they partnered with Getty Images ( yep, THE largest bank of images in the world) and GirlGaze ( an incredible woman owned and run company who’s main goal is to shrink the pay gap.)

The ShowUs campaign was an opportunity to be a part of a movement to change how women and those who identify as women are represented in media an advertising. It’s a call for ALL INDUSTRIES to up their game, be more INCLUSIVE in what they show and who they show and put to bed for once and for all the narrow, outdated standards of beauty women have attempted to shape, cut and squeeze themselves into for far too long and for no good reason other than someone said they should.

This was also an opportunity for me to personally live my message, show my children that how you feel about yourself isn’t rooted in the approval of others or the meeting of some imaginary standard, but truly in being who you are all the time, regardless of what the world thinks of that.

To check out the video from the campaign, click here . IT’S AMAZING and one the things I’m most proud to have been a part of on this crazy adventure called life.

To check out the full collection of images available to be licensed and used click here!

To learn more about GirlGaze, what they do and how they are changing the game in positive and powerful ways, click here

To get in contact with me to learn more about my speaking and workshops on all things body image, beauty, alopecia, or what healthy really looks and feels like, send me an email at mamaonamissioninfo@gmail.com., or connect with me on instagram @lucianatwinmama, or find me on facebook under Luciana Naldi.

Thanks for being here and I look forward to speaking with you soon!

 
 
 

What to do if you know someone who has alopecia. 

I've had the privilege of being both a mother/woman dealing with alopecia and a daughter. What our loved ones see when they look at us may not be what WE SEE when we look at ourselves. For a long time after I had become indifferent to whether or not my hair came back, I still had people bringing me dr.'s names and numbers or information on healers and other options for a cure or hair regrowth. I understand it was all done from a place of love and wanting to help but they just couldn't understand that I wasn't something that was broken and needed fixing. I had in fact " fixed" a great deal within myself as a result of my hair jumping ship. Everyone sees us through the lens of their own experiences, fears, and insecurities and I remember that anytime I have a conversation about what I've gone through. 

Here's what you can do to best support someone you love or know who is dealing with alopecia:

1. Ask them what you could do that would support them best. Don't assume they want treatment, or help or even to talk about it. Say, " I know you're dealing with something and I'd like to support you in anyway I can in whatever you decide moving forward." 

Ask them what they need. Ask them what would help. Then LISTEN. 

2. Remember they may not be able to articulate to you what they need yet. Even asking shows support and leaves the door open for them to share when they are ready. 

3. Give them time and space to deal with it in a way they choose. There are support groups by phone and in person although I have found most are geared toward treatment options. 

4.  Understand it is not an indicator of a serious health condition or a terminal diagnosis. It's really just unexplainable hair loss. Some people's hair returns months or years later to stay.  For some it returns and leaves again. 

 

My 4 year old as my barber. 

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Notes like this are WHY I share my story.

Notes like this are WHY I share my story.


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