Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) opened up about her battles with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes patterns of baldness.
The Massachusetts lawmaker — who has been a high-profile figure as a member of the so-called “Squad” — revealed the disease in an interview with The Root. She told the outlet, “I think it’s important that I’m transparent about this new normal.”
"My twists have become such a synonymous & a conflated part of not only my personal identity & how I show up in the world, but my political brand. And that's why I think it's important that I'm transparent about this new normal & living with alopecia." — @AyannaPressley pic.twitter.com/jqraqZeiKr— The Root (@TheRoot) January 16, 2020
She said that she first noticed the spots of baldness last fall and she said that she lost the last of her hair on the night before the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Pressley says that her decision to go public is “about self-agency. It’s about power. It’s about acceptance.”
In a video posted by The Root, Pressley said, “I am making peace with having alopecia, I have not arrived there … but I’m making more progress every day and that’s why I’m doing this today.”
There was an outpouring of support for Pressley online; her colleague Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) — who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus — wrote of Pressley, “Her courage and her beauty are on display every day in the work she does for the people she represents. Today is no exception.”
I was just with Ayanna in Boston this past weekend.— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) January 16, 2020
Her courage and her beauty are on display every day in the work she does for the people she represents.
Today is no exception. pic.twitter.com/HmGMZIMu1Y
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked, “Could you imagine losing all of your hair on the eve of an enormously public day,” and added, “Ayanna, you are a living blessing.”
Could you imagine losing all your hair on the eve of an enormously public day? And then turning that intensely intimate ordeal to make space for others?— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 16, 2020
Ayanna, you are a living blessing.
Everyone, please take a moment out of your day to watch @AyannaPressley’s #BlackHairStory. https://t.co/0G9NCaPmuG
Longtime politician John Kerry wrote that he is “proud to count her as a friend,” and added that he hopes “some more in this generation summon even a little bit of Ayanna in the decision they make.”
The bravery of @AyannaPressley sets such a powerful example. Proud to count her as a friend, glad so many in the next generation have her as a role model, and hope some more in this generation summon even a little bit of Ayanna in the decisions they make. https://t.co/k6CnNUW5hc— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) January 16, 2020
Though she is only a freshman congresswoman, Pressley has become an iconic member of Congress. And she’s proved that she’s not defined by the typical cliques of Washington, D.C., — while the other women in the “Squad” all endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president in 2020, Pressley instead endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).