Although Alopecia affects many people around the world of all ages and backgrounds, it is a condition which receives little attention from mainstream media and films. Now a group of US students in the state of Michigan are attempting to rectify the matter with their 30-minute short film “Beauty Queen”.
The film is currently in production, and is being made by the Michigan Creative Film Alliance, which comprises students from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. The plot follows the plight of a high school student who is suffering from Alopecia in the lead up to a beauty pageant which, if she wins, could fund her college tuition through a scholarship.
The film’s scriptwriter has a very close connection to the subject matter, having herself suffered from Alopecia since she was six years old. 22 year-old graduate Kelci Parker has said that she wants to raise people’s awareness of the condition.
Ms. Parker told the Detroit Free Press: “They often say write about what you know, and I know a lot about Alopecia.”
The film is being shot in Detroit by a crew of almost thirty students, and features over 150 extras. The students appear to be taking the subject matter and the filming very seriously indeed. The leading actress, whose teenage character suffers Alopecia, had the option of wearing a bald cap for the role, but instead chose to shave her own head for extra realism.
The film has also been given support by local children’s hair loss charity, Wigs 4 Kids, in the form of wigs and shooting locations.
A real-life beauty queen with Alopecia
The film’s subject matter and themes has echoes of the real life story of Kayla Martell, who has Alopecia and was crowned Miss Delaware last year. 21 year-old Martell competed in the Miss Delaware beauty pageant five times before finally winning in 2010.
Miss Martell has lived with Alopecia since she was 10 years-old, and appeared in a number of pageants sporting her naturally bald look.
In January of this year she went on to compete with beauty pageant winners from around the US, in the Miss America competition. Though she did not win the title of Miss America, she did make it into the top ten, and was voted ‘America’s Choice’ by television viewers.
She has used her high profile as Miss Delaware to raise awareness of Alopecia.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is a hair loss condition which can affect both men and women of any age, though it often manifests itself during childhood or teenage years. The exact causes of it are unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by stress and traumatic events, and by periods of illness.
The initial stage, or mild version of Alopecia is patchy hair loss. In some cases the hair will re-grow in time, and various hair loss treatments can be effective in promoting re-growth. Sufferers however often remain prone to future bouts of hair loss.
In other cases however, the hair loss continues until the scalp is entirely bald. This is known as Alopecia Totalis, and when the condition reaches this point it becomes very difficult to treat. Alopecia Universalis is the total loss of all hair from the scalp and body, including the eyebrows.
The condition has received a little more exposure in the media recently, owing to high profile sufferers such as TV presenter Gail Porter. A central character who suffers from Alopecia appeared in the Hollywood film Happythankyoumoreplease, with Malin Akerman starring as Annie.
Can Alopecia be treated?
The first phase of Alopecia – Alopecia Areata – is usually responsive to treatment. At The Belgravia Centre we regularly treat those who suffer from the condition, and do so successfully.
Our hair loss experts assess each case on an individual basis, and help the sufferer to identify the possible causes for the condition, and determine the best course of action. We have found our own formulation of Minoxidil 12.5% with Azelaic Acid to be particularly effective in treating Alopecia Areata. We can treat the patchy hair loss that results from Alopecia Areata and help hair to re-grow, however in cases where all hair from the scalp has been lost treatments are unlikely to be effective.
If you suffer from Alopecia and would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact us for a free consultation, or fill in our online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment programme that we can post anywhere in the world.