Kylie Bamberger was diagnosed with the alopecia universalis, a disease that causes complete and total hair loss, at age 15. Now 27, the model and public speaker aims to raise awareness, challenge societal perceptions and inspire women (and men) everywhere with her empowering message.
“All beauty is beautiful. We can’t sit and pick apart and judge what is and what’s not,” Bamberger told TODAY Style.
Hair loss is commonly thought of as a male issue, but that’s simply not the case. According to the American Hair Loss Association, women actually make up 40 percent of those struggling.
Beyond the physical symptoms, hair loss takes a toll on self-image and confidence, particularly for women. Yet, female hair loss is rarely spoken about. But now, this recent bride is speaking out.
She recently opened up in a personal video posted to Instagram. “When I lost my hair I was so focused on what I had lost, that I hadn’t necessarily realized what I had gained. And I had gained the ability to finally love myself. It’s something I encourage so many others to try and do. No one should ever be alienated because of the way that they look. You’re all beautiful,” Bamberger said.
The post, which has received more than 80,000 views, has started a dialogue and generated tons of positive support. “Ashley Graham [even] commented on my post. It was surreal,” she told TODAY Style.
True to form, Bamberger — who hasn’t worn a wig in five years — embraced her “bald beauty” on her walk down the aisle.
“[Wearing a wig] is not who I am. That’s not how my friends, family and fiance know me. I never thought I would wear a wig on my wedding day,” she said.
Instead, the bride looked the picture of perfection in her bedazzled headpiece. “It was actually a belt that my mom and I found. She added elastic and turned it into a headband. It was so sparkly and amazing,” Bamberger explained.
But for her, it’s not about perfection.
“That notion that everything can be perfect is thrown out the window when you lose your hair,” she said.
After her experience, her advice for other brides is simple: “Your wedding is the day for you to shine — and you’re going to shine no matter what. Whether something spills on your dress or your hair doesn’t look flawless. You can’t control everything. Things are going to be what they are. You aren’t going to get that exact day ever again — and it should be savored.”