When his hair began falling out at age 17, Allen Smith was horrified, as any teenage would be. Soon after, Allen, who is American, was diagnosed with the hair loss condition Alopecia Areata. Despite the initial shock, he eventually used his condition to spur him on to greater things.
Today, Allen is 25, and has crossed the Altantic to embark on a musical tour of Europe, acoustic guitar in hand. While following his passion for music, he hopes to spread awareness of Alopecia and encourage others to pursue their dreams despite adversity. But he hasn’t always been so bold, and he says that there was a time when losing his hair affected his confidence: “Especially when I was younger coming up with it, it was tough because you didn’t want to be around anybody,” he told local newspaper The Post and Courier. “[I] didn’t want to be around anybody. It really took a toll emotionally and on my self-esteem.”
Despite periodic hair growth, Allen has lost his hair again on five separate occasions, and he says that each time it occurred, he turned to music. He also credits his passion for music with helping his hair to grow back, and told the paper that: “It was the passion that helped me overcome my mind, and it was the passion that de-stressed me and is making my hair come back once again.”
Now Allen hopes to show others that they can overcome their own obstacles to pursue their dreams, through the promotion of his debut album, “Self Discovery”. As well as taking to the streets of Europe’s big cities with his acoustic guitar, he is due to play at London’s Oxjam charity music festival, and plans to play at pubs and nightclubs in the UK and across the continent.
Allen is far from being a ‘college dropout’ or a drifter. He holds a business degree and had a successful job as a sales representative when he chose to follow his musical ambitions. He and a friend have also now started a brand called ‘Good Vibes’, through which he hopes to encourage others to follow their dreams.
“People will have a dream, but outside influences will tell them to go do certain things because it pays the bills well … Good Vibes is a movement we’re trying to start that is going to show people that you can do what you love and be happy and the money will come,” Allen said, adding that living with Alopecia has made him the person he is today.