September is Alopecia Awareness Month but the shame surrounding the condition is present year round.
As someone struggling with alopecia and the final person to ever to ever hold the title of Playmate of The Year model, philanthropist and entrepreneur Jordan Emanuel has gone from concealing the effects of the disorder with wigs by speaking out about her experiences with the autoimmune disorder.
“There were a few reasons I felt compelled to share my journey with alopecia, for one I had been dealing with it for two years silently and I was getting tired of hiding it,” she said. “I was so close to just giving up on regrowth that I was about to shave my hair so I was preparing myself and my followers for that change.”
“It’s ironic because when I was announced as a Playmate in 2018, that’s when it was like the peak of my outbreak. So it was this weird juxtaposition of being highlighted as this beautiful, confident woman. And on the other side, I was going bald essentially,” she revealed to HelloBeautiful.
It was difficult for her to balance her role as a sex symbol with the insecurities she dealt with over something she couldn’t control. Her choice to conceal her condition was partially as a response to the intense pressure to be considered camera ready by stringent standards and partially a chance to de-stress by expressing her creativity.
While Traction Alopecia requires friction to begin to attack the sufferer’s symptoms, traditional alopecia can be triggered as a result of several different factors. Stress, diet, and traumatic life events can each impact its severity. “I had a really bad outbreak about a year ago where the whole front of my hairline was gone,” she said.
Emmanuel knew that the stress associated with the condition had the potential to aggravate it so she worked to find ways to prioritize her physical and mental health to fight it.
“My mental wellness meditation and mantra have helped a lot,” she told HelloBeautiful.
She took a regime of supplements, and began creating her own “little hair potions with castor oil, peppermint, coconut oil,” to stimulate hair regrowth. She also dove headfirst into self-development books like The Magic. Eventually her care regime began showing results.
“When treatments started to work I considered not saying anything about the ordeal, but I remembered my friend Samantha who had lost all of her hair to alopecia, and how much strength and confidence she had in that that I knew it was time to have that conversation publicly.”
She hopes that sharing her experiences will help lift the stigma surrounding the condition that leads women to shame one another. She is already seeing a dialogue form in her social media community.
“I’m so glad I did, the response I got was overwhelming I mean from people I would least expect to hear that they too were silently battling this autoimmune disease. We have since become a soundboard for each other.”
Learn more about Alopecia at the National Alopecia Areata Foundation