Ayanna Pressley’s ‘squad’ of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia
Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) praised fellow “squad” member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) on Thursday after she opened up about her alopecia journey and revealed her bald head for the first time publicly.
“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?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Ayanna, you are a living blessing. Everyone, please take a moment out of your day to watch.”
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?
Ayanna, you are a living blessing.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 16, 2020
“You are stunningly gorgeous and a magnificent black queen,” Omar wrote on Twitter. “I know women and young girls around the world will wear their crowns more proudly today because of you. Your courage is inspiring and I am so proud to be your sister in service!”
You are stunningly gorgeous and a magnificent black queen.
I know women and young girls around the world will wear their crowns more proudly today because of you.
Your courage is inspiring and I am so proud to be your sister in service! https://t.co/zmGBxYuK5r
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 16, 2020
Tlaib wrote that Pressley’s courage in sharing her experience “is what makes you so incredibly special.”
“I love you sis,” she added.
Your courage in sharing your story is what makes you so incredibly special @AyannaPressley.
I love you sis. https://t.co/0OtFXsrXlK
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 16, 2020
The warm messages from the three lawmakers come after shortly after The Root published an interview with Pressley in which she revealed her struggles with alopecia.
During the interview, Pressley said that she had first began noticing patches in her hair back in the fall.
“From there, it accelerated very quickly,” she said, adding that her condition eventually progressed to a point where she had “been waking up every morning to sinkfuls of hair.”
“Every night I was employing all the tools that I had been schooled and trained in throughout my life as a black woman because I thought that I could stop this. I wrapped my hair. I wore a bonnet. I slept on a silk pillowcase,” said Pressley, who in 2018 became the first black woman from Massachusetts elected to Congress.
“And yet, and still every morning, which I faced with dread, I did not want to go to sleep because I did not want the morning to come where I would remove this bonnet and my wrap and be met with more hair in the sink and an image in the mirror of a person who increasingly felt like a stranger to me,” she added.
“I’m very early in my alopecia journey, but I’m making progress every day. And that’s why I’m doing this today,” Pressley said.
The interview prompted an outpouring of support from political figures and others across social media.
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) January 16, 2020
— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) January 16, 2020
You are beautiful inside and out!
— Lauren Underwood (@LaurenUnderwood) January 16, 2020
Watch all 7 and a half minutes of this. It is so powerful, so meaningful, and creates space for so much. @AyannaPressley, you remain a champion for us and are such a queen, my friend. Absolutely beautiful. I’m a bucket of tears. Thank you for showing us how to be ourselves! https://t.co/zQCvOoOLce
— brittany packnett cunningham (@MsPackyetti) January 16, 2020
Pressley tweeted that she decided to share her feelings “to create space and to create community for those of us who have had complicated relationships with our hair.”
“This was not easy, but vulnerability rarely is,” she wrote.
Today, I am sharing my #hairloss journey to create space and to create community for those of us who have had complicated relationships with our hair. This was not easy, but vulnerability rarely is.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) January 16, 2020