Essex woman hopes others will embrace baldness following Oscars drama

She hopes the Oscars incident raises awareness of the condition

Laura MathiasCredit: Debbie Burrows

This article was first published on Greatest Hits Radio

A woman from Essex with alopecia says she’s feeling more confident, and hopes others will embrace their baldness, after the Oscars controversy raised awareness of the condition.

Laura Mathias, 30, from Manningtree, first began losing her hair aged 12, and has alopecia universalis, meaning she has no hair on her body.

She says the incident which occurred at Sunday night’s Oscars has introduced alopecia to a large audience, who are now looking to discover more about the condition: “The fact that so many people are now asking the questions: what is alopecia and how does that impact people? That’s really positive.”Laura MathiasCredit: Debbie Burrows

The incident in question saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who had a shaved head due to alopecia.

Laura herself was unimpressed with the joke but is looking for a positive spin, and hopes now, that as more people learn about the condition, alopecia and hair loss will become a more recognised and acknowledged part of society: “The charity Alopecia UK said hits on their website have gone through the roof since the Oscars incident, which is obviously a positive.

“It shows there is an appetite to understand more and hopefully, it means the more people understand about it, the less damage people’s opinions, comments, and jokes about bald women and men will have.”

“Nobody can tell you the right way to live with alopecia.”

Laura herself first began embracing her baldness during the pandemic, having hidden her hair loss under wigs for 17 years: “I started looking for people with alopecia on Instagram, and uncovered this whole amazing community of women and men with hair loss talking about it, sharing their experiences and their concerns and I finally started trying to embrace it a bit more.”

Laura Mathias

Credit: Debbie Burrows

She has now built up a following on social media, and has nearly 12,000 followers on Instagram, where she documents her experiences with alopecia to help others who might be struggling with hair loss and to challenge societal expectations: “Seeing a bald, beautiful, happy, healthy woman is confusing for people – they don’t expect that.

“…It’s so important to raise awareness around alopecia because there are so many people dealing with some form of hair loss… I don’t want any other 12 year old girl to feel how I did when I started losing my hair.

“If I can be one person that is publicly sharing images of myself and lets themselves be seen, and if I can be an example to that 12 year old, that’s great.”Laura MathiasCredit: Debbie Burrows

Laura’s message to anyone with alopecia would be: “There’s no right way to deal with having alopecia. If you want to wear a wig every day and that makes you feel good, do it. If you want to tell everybody you meet that you have alopecia, do it. If you want to be bald all the time, do it…

“Nobody can tell you the right way to live with alopecia.”

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