Beautiful bride embraces alopecia by being bald at her wedding – encourages others to ditch their wigs too!
By Josh Saunders
Meet the beautiful bride who embraced alopecia by being BALD on her big day and is encouraging others with the disease to chuck out their wigs too.
Kylie Bamberger, from Los Angeles in California, USA, was 12-years-old when she started to develop bald spots and lost clumps of hair, which later would be diagnosed as alopecia areata.
In a bid to keep her hair, she tried taking vitamins, treatments and drugs including using over 30 steroid treatments, but nothing worked.
Bravely she shaved her hair off and began wearing wigs, which she says stopped people from staring.
But after forgetting to bring her wig to class in 2011, she went bald for the first time and from there, with the help of friends and future husband Cy VanSickle, 26, learned to embrace her baldness.
She hasn’t covered her head in five years, defying those who called her ‘skinhead’ and thought she was a man in the women’s bathroom.
She even chose to walk down the aisle without a wig last October and now models to inspire others to embrace their baldness too.
Kylie, 27, a public speaker, said: “Not having hair is who I am, it’s me, when I wear a wig i’m not who I identify with, so I was never going to get married with one on.
“It was never even a concern or thought that I wasn’t going to have hair on my wedding day, besides if I wore a wig I don’t think my husband would recognise me.
“The only problem I found was working out how to attach my veil, which in the end we connected to a headband.
“Wigs are so hot and cumbersome.
“In the hot weather I really struggled with them and found I was just wearing one to make others feel comfortable or stop them from staring.
“I try to show my baldness and hair loss in a positive light now.
“I hope that other people will be inspired, I want others with alopecia to feel like they can take their wigs off too.
“I model acceptance, I model the ability to show your inner beauty and that you don’t need hair to be beautiful.
“At first when I lost my hair, I was so focused on what I had lost that I hadn’t realised what I had gained, 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 they look.”
After discovering her first bald spot, mum Kerry from Norfolk, UK, and Kylie tried numerous remedies, treatments, techniques and hats to keep her hair appearing ‘normal’
She said: “I was taking vitamins, homeopathic methods, techniques – one of them was doing handstands and letting the blood rush to your head – and a range of different things.
“The first signs looked like too much hair had been cut from around my ears, then I lost my eyebrows and I couldn’t hide the spots.
“I tried steroid injections into the bald spots too but they never worked for me, wherever they tried it would grow back and another hairless patch appeared elsewhere.
“When I was 15, my hair began to fall out all at once – I had showered and found large clumps of hair in my hand, I felt helpless.
“I ran my fingers through my hair, there was more hair coming out than expected, it was an excessive amount like putting your hand through spaghetti.”
At 15-years-old she decided to shave her hair, which she believes was the first step to accepting that she had alopecia.
Instead of mourning the loss of her hair, her family turned it into a celebration by filming the event and letting each other try on her wig.
Kylie said: “We decided to film it, so instead of it being a sad experience we turned it into a celebration.
“It set a new focus for the rest of my hair loss and set the tone for a lot of other things in life, it taught me to embrace and accept it.”
Then for several years, she wore wigs, one for work and another for school, only taking it off while playing sports.
Kylie said: “It took years to build the confidence, I wore a wig almost every day, the only time I took it off was when I played soccer because it was so hot.
“Then one day I forgot to wear my wig for school and I decided I would go to class without it, which led people to ask a lot of inappropriate questions.”
She started speaking out about the auto-immune disease, which affects 147million worldwide and causes the antibodies to attack hair follicles all over the body.
She added: “I had other experiences too, like in new classes, everyone immediately thought I had cancer, so I had to clear the air and explain about alopecia but it helped me a lot.
“I was mistaken for a man in the women’s restroom and was once called a ‘skinhead’ too, but it’s all played a part in building my confidence and making me realise I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Kylie says she learned to embrace her condition thanks to her sports team who encouraged her to be proud of her hairlessness and made her go into social situations without wearing a wig.
Then while dating future-husband Cy VanSickle, 26, he reassured her that she didn’t have to hide her head to make others feel better.
Kylie said: “When I started dating my husband I didn’t have to wear my wig in front of him.
“Before I was only putting it on to make others comfortable and stop them staring at me.”
Since then, she’s embraced her look and wants others to be empowered by their alopecia rather than being held back by it.
She now models without her wig and is a public speaker for a children’s alopecia charity, in the hope of empowering others and getting them to take off their wigs too.
Kylie said: “I know I was confident without my wig before, I was always covering my difference for others.
“Now I want to show others that you can be happy and successful without hair, I haven’t chosen to wear it or anything for five years and it feels great.”
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