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In the spring of 2005, 8-year-old Allison Rose began losing her hair. First, it started coming out in patches, allowing her mother to cover it up enough to go unnoticed. Allison was in 3rd grade at this time, and by the arrival of that summer, all of her hair was gone. Although this would be devastating for people of all ages, it was especially heartbreaking for 9-year-old Allison. She was alienated and bullied by her peers as early as elementary school, where kids are supposed to feel safe. To make matters worse, the uncomfortable and saddening treatment continued all the way through college, and not just from children, but adults as well.

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Luckily, the beautiful Allison Rose has decided to embrace her individuality and help others who struggle with similar obstacles through her inspiring new blog called, Blank Beauti.

I met Allison in fall of 2014, and instantly, I adored her. Among being a natural beauty, Allison is bright, bubbly, funny, and one of the kindest souls I have ever met. On top of all of that, she embraces her alopecia—an autoimmune deficiency that causes hair loss—in a beautiful way. At the young age of 19, she already realizes that one doesn’t have to fit the “norm” to be beautiful, and she hopes her blog will help people realize their own unique beauty as well.

When I asked Allison how it felt to go from having a full head of hair for 8 years to being completely hairless by age 9, her response was, “it was really terrifying because we didn’t know what it was [at first].” Doctors were not quite sure what was causing the hair loss, so along with the devastation of losing her hair, Allison and her family had to worry about her health, as well.

Eventually, the doctors diagnosed her with alopecia, and Allison’s family began to figure out ways to make the best of a tough situation. Her neighbor had made her a pink bandana, which she wore all throughout middle school. “[At first], I found [my condition] a flaw and [a] bad thing, and I wanted to blend in with all the other kids. I wanted to hide it so I wore [a] bandana because I wanted to cover the bald head.”

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Upon hearing that Allison found it a bad thing, I assumed that it had to do with the way she was treated, so I asked her about the treatment she received during middle school and beyond. She said, “People didn’t know what to say so they just stared at me. It made me more uncomfortable. At least when people ask questions, I know what they are thinking. When they don’t, I don’t know what they’re thinking, and I wonder what they are thinking. It’s a weird feeling. It still happens now. It happens every time I go anywhere. I feel like I am constantly under a microscope. It wasn’t just kids, it was adults. The school nurse in 4th grade decided to use me as an example of someone who was “different,” which was really upsetting. I ran out and cried in the bathroom because she pointed me out and all the kids stared.”

Once she reached high school, her sister Jillian mentioned that she may have a new way for Allison to cover her head: decorative scarves. “At first,” Allison said, “I thought it was ridiculous, but [Jill] found a really cool way to do it. When I first wore it to school, people thought it was cool. My teacher even said, ‘Whoa, girlfriend, you look fabulous! I’m loving the new look!’ This comment made me feel better about it. Once I started wearing the other scarves and it became more fun, I realized [my alopecia] was not a bad flaw, it made me who I am, and that not many people are just like me. I made it more of a positive spin. I want to use it to help other people, which is why I started the blog. I want other people to feel comfortable regardless of their issues, whether it is alopecia or something else. Society is wrong, not you. You don’t have to fit in. I can see that fitting in is not the good thing to do now.”

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When I asked Allison if she still has negative experiences now that she wears the decorative scarves, and is comfortable and happy in her own skin, she said yes—all the time. I asked her about her worst experience, to which she told me that it is too hard to speak about.

She did, however, mention that recently, an elderly gentlemen at the supermarket where she works asked her what was on her head, if she is a terrorist, why the scarf is hanging so low, and if she is going to hang herself with it. Allison said this man was completely serious, and left her speechless. It is clear that society needs to educate themselves on natural beauty, individuality, and helping others feel comfortable in their own skin, which they can do through Blank Beauti.

Allison said that she decided to name her blog Blank Beauti because “I am bald and my head is blank because I have no hair on it, but I am still beautiful. Also, it can be related to other things—it’s about beauty in general. You don’t have to endorse yourself to be beautiful. Natural beauty! Blank slate!” Allison wants to help all people feel beautiful, regardless of whether or not they share the similar struggles as she does: “As hard as it is, try not to view yourself and your physical image in a negative way. Everybody has flaws, and all flaws are different. No one is meant to be perfect. Imperfections make you unique and beautiful!”

Lastly, I want to share Allison’s current outlook on life with all of you readers, as it is truly incredible: “You have good days and bad days. Just because I have a positive attitude now doesn’t mean I don’t have hard days. I have to remind myself that I am glad that it happened because I can empower others, and help others who are going through what I am going through. It helps me to be more aware of other people’s feelings. I have been treated so poorly so often, and I would never want to treat others that way, so I am glad that this forced me to take a step back and make sure I am treating people how I want to be treated, and making sure I am kind with my words. It also makes me more willing to put myself out there and try to meet people and get outside of my comfort zone.”

You can check out and support Allison’s amazing blog here.

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