From the high school student whose artist mother painted her bald head for her senior photos to the bride who chose not to wear a wig on her wedding day, more and more women with alopecia are using social media to celebrate and embrace their beauty. The latest is Makenzee Meaux, a bride-to-be who turned her engagement photo shoot into an inspiring way to reveal that she has the autoimmune condition to friends and family.
In a now-viral Facebook post, Meaux uploaded a collage with three photos: One where she's removing her wig, another where she's posing and smiling, and a third where her fiancé kisses her cheek (see the gorgeous images below). "This is probably the most difficult thing I will ever do in my life," she writes in the caption of the photos, going on to describe her decades-long struggle to keep her diagnosis private, along with her reasons for opening up about it now.
"I was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis when I was 8 years old," Meaux says. "It is a disease where all of your hair follicles suddenly stop growing and the doctors can not figure out why or what will bring it back. They call it the mystery disease. Nothing else is wrong with the body other than hair will not grow which as you can imagine for a young girl, is a huge confidence killer."
After being bullied when she was younger, Meaux says she "lost all hope that I could ever feel beautiful again" until meeting her now-fiancé Bryan. "He has helped me be brave and realize that hair is not what makes you beautiful and is not what makes people love you," she write. "It is truly all about what’s on the inside."
Meaux's powerful message is an inspiration to others with alopecia, as well as anyone who struggles with self-confidence. "[T]he people who love you do not care whether or not you have hair and the ones who do are not worth your time or your love," she writes. "So this is me, the true me."