By Rebecca Drew
THIS STUNNING woman is baring way more than her bald head by stripping naked to show that bald is sexy and inspire other women living with hair loss to be confident.
Model and image consultant, Sara Meucci (28) also known as Miss Swirl on Instagram from Florence, Italy, lost her hair after she started to suffer with the compulsive hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania when she was 12 as an anxiety relief.
Sara started by only pulling out an eyelash but her irresistible urge to pluck more hairs from their roots spread to her eyebrows and eventually to the hair on her head. The activity would leave Sara feeling very relaxed, but she was made to feel uncomfortable by society who didn’t accept her baldness.
When out and about people would ask her if she had cancer or alopecia and would be shocked when they heard that Sara’s baldness was a result of her own actions.
Incredible pictures show how Sara, who started out as a nude model, has embraced her difference and is now using it to inspire others.
For 11 years Sara pulled her hair and after she stopped she found that her hair didn’t grow back properly so she decided to accept her hair loss as part of her look, shaving her head every couple of days to maintain it and has since been working to help other women affected by hair loss thanks to illness or compulsive disorders.
“I lost my hair through my own doing. Trichotillomania is the trigger, but you are the one doing it to yourself and even if you feel you can’t help it, you don’t ever blame the disorder, you always put the blame on yourself,” said Sara.
“It started small, with one eyelash or two and then it got to my eyebrows and spread to my hair.
“I couldn’t resist the need of pulling and I didn’t try to resist that much, I have to say, but when you repeatedly rip your hair with its bulb, there’s a high chance it won’t grow back.
“I started at the age of 12, I am now 28 and have very little hair left so I do a total shave every two days.
“Pulling my hair made me feel extremely calm and relaxed. Like any other compulsive disorder, it is triggered by your brain and it’s something that makes you feel really good.
“Society’s standards about hair, on the contrary, made me feel I was wrong, especially when I was a kid. People are still pretty shocked by bald women or hairless faces in general and I can understand why, I mean, it’s not something you see every day. But I think we can work on that.
“Most of the people thought I had cancer and others who were aware of alopecia, asked me if I had that.
“No one thinks hair loss can be your own doing, no one knows about trichotillomania disorder.
“Now the situation is different though, as soon as I embraced my bald look as part of my style, the majority of people see what I want them to see.
“When I stopped feeling sick, when I decided that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, that I could look good anyway and I could find a style to go with it, everything changed, I changed and people around me did too.
“I knew that eventually embracing myself was something I had to do in order to find stability and so one day, after a year spent in therapy talking about my insecurities, as I was trying to stick that fake eyelash that really didn’t want to cooperate and the scarf was feeling too tight and all the world seemed to have a problem with me looking proper, I thought it didn’t matter anymore and went out the way I was.
“I think everything really resides in your confidence, in how bold you grow to be.”
Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder where the person is unable to stop themselves from pulling their hair, often from their head, eyelashes or eyebrows.
Sara posts pictures on her Instagram page that she thinks will help other women like her and she often receives messages from people affected by hair loss thanking her for sharing her journey.
Proud of her own journey, she is currently working on a blog and YouTube channel with tips on how to behave in certain situations if you’re bald.
“I am posting a lot of pictures on Instagram that I think could inspire other women like me and it works. I receive many thank you notes even from guys that have alopecia and mothers of kids that have it, other trichsters and many more,” she said.
“I am also working on my blog, writing longer articles for people to relate to and I have a plan to develop a channel on YouTube where I give my opinion on how to behave in certain situations when you are bald, tips on possible looks and whatever comes in mind that can be of any help.
“Locally, I am looking for collaborations with event planners that can include a small speech where I work on awareness and I hope I can get a little help from newspapers and other media who are interested in sharing my message.
“I am an inspiration to myself before I am to others. I have fought so much to grow as the person I am.
“I have fought against depression and thoughts that were leading me to the wrong perception of myself, against the monsters living in my head, the judgmental words of kids my age, the pity looks of adults that crossed my way that I can now frankly say I am not afraid of being me anymore.
“My family took a breath of relief, nobody ever understood how to behave around me until I embraced myself enough to be able to just talk about it. My friends hugged me so hard, I still get chills at the thought of it.
“And who cares because you are bald, overweight, asymmetrical, paranoid, a total mess, this is a journey every sensible human being has to go through at some point and it is heart-warming and encouraging to know that you are not the only person in the planet that went through all these troubles to find a place of happiness.
“In the end, your ultimate goal is not to feel beautiful without hair, it is to understand how much your smile has far more power than your hair.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/miss_swirl