Women shave their heads for all types of reasons. Some just like the look of a buzzcut, others don’t want to deal with the maintenance of long hair. Of course, some people are dealing with health concerns. Ricki Lake’s shaved head is both none of these things and all of them. The actress and talk show legend took to her Instagram on January 1 to show off her new buzzcut. She’s telling the world how she’s starting a new chapter for the new decade and it’s seriously powerful.
According to a lengthy Instagram and Facebook post, Lake told the story of her decades-long struggle with hair loss. She starts by saying “First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering.” She says hair loss struggles have been “debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely” and she’s even thought about taking her own life. “I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men,” she continues. “I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.”
Lake goes on to explain how while playing Tracy Turnblad in 1988’s Hairspray, the movie’s crew “triple-processed and teased” her previously healthy hair. For some reason, they didn’t have her wear a wig. Of course, damaged hair can be repaired and new hair can grow but that was only the beginning of her hair struggles. “In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions,” she writes.
Lake tried everything to minimize her hair loss. According to her post, she got steroid injections, took supplements and worked with doctors but the shedding always came back. She wanted to be “free of the maintenance every 10-12 days” where her extensions would have to be tightened and her grey hair colored. A slave to the maintenance, she couldn’t even travel for very long. So, she decided enough was enough.
“I am beautiful. I am love. For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real,” she finishes, explaining that she may wear faux-hair once in a while but this is her true self.
Of course, not everyone experiencing hair loss needs to resort to shaving their head. There are treatments that do work for many, many people of all genders. But this is what works for Lake and by sharing her story, I’m sure she’ll inspire others to live their own truth.