It’s not ordinary for a powerful Hollywood actress and Oscar winner to share their story about a medical condition, but Viola Davis is not an ordinary person. She has been in the business for over 30 years. She has starred in many movies, including “Eat, Pray, Love”, and The “Help”, for which she won the Oscar for best actress. Davis is probably best know for her role as Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”.
Some of the most talked about scenes from the show are when she isn’t wearing one of her wigs. As powerful as those moments are, they pale in comparison to what the actress has gone through with her hair. In an interview with Vulture, she revealed that she was battling alopecia areata, a condition that causes a person to lose round patches of hair from their scalp. Davis didn’t lose the majority of her hair until she was 28 years old.
Working as an actress in Hollywood while losing your hair can be quite a shock. “I woke up one day and it looked like I had a Mohawk. Big splash of bald on the top of my head,” she said. “I was like, ‘What is this?’ Until I found out it was stress related. That’s how I internalized it. I don’t do that anymore. My favorite saying in the world is, ‘The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.’ I am telling you, I have spent so much of my life not feeling comfortable in my skin. I am just so not there anymore.”
Davis, as many people with alopecia do, wore wigs. “I wore a wig in the Jacuzzi. I had a wig I wore around the house. I had a wig that I wore to events. I had a wig that I wore when I worked out. I never showed my natural hair. It was a crutch, not an enhancement … I was so desperate for people to think that I was beautiful. I had to be liberated from that [feeling] to a certain extent,” she said.
The beginning of that break through happened at the Oscars in 2012 when she showed up in her natural short hair. Many loved her decision to take the risk and be true to herself. Now when Davis wear’s wigs, she says she does so because they are “options, not necessity”. We applaud you Viola!