Alopecia Actress Defies Hollywood Conventions

Georgia Van Cuylenbar Hair Loss Alopecia The Belgravia Centre

At the relatively tender age of 26, Georgia Van Cuylenbar has already enjoyed seven years as a successful Hollywood actress. But in an industry renowned for demanding perfect looks from their stars, Georgia has bucked the trend.

What makes Georgia different from all the other Hollywood starlets is that she has Alopecia.

Pride in her hair

Georgia admits that her long blonde hair was a large part of her early success in acting, even telling an American news show: “My hair defined my beauty in that it was my calling card.” An extremely popular and successful student, Georgia sang with the school choir, performed in the band and was a member of the swimming team.

Like many teenagers, concern about her looks and other social insecurities led to concerns about weight. Georgia went on to develop anorexia but recovered by the age of eighteen.

Her career as an actress began to take off, with roles in adverts, a children’s show and plenty of voiceover work. But in 2007 everything changed as she prepared for an audition one morning.

Discovering hair loss

As she brushed her hair that day, Georgia discovered large clumps of hair were falling out of her head. As the problem worsened, Georgia sought medical advice, and discovered she was suffering from Alopecia. Over time she lost hair from her head, eyebrows, eyelashes and most of her body, suggesting she was affected by the condition’s most severe form, Alopecia Universalis.

Because of the Hollywood obsession with looks, Georgia was advised to hide her hair loss condition to prevent casting directors assuming she was ‘sick’.

A painful attempt at treatment

Seeking to resolve the issue, Ms Van Cuylenbar agreed to undergo ‘aggressive acupuncture’. The procedure involves banging a special hammer fitted with seven needles across the scalp, before coating the affected area with a special chemical designed to burn the skin. According to proponents of aggressive acupuncture, the piercing and burning should stimulate hair growth.

Unfortunately for Georgia, the treatment had no effect, other than to cause her a lot of pain, and her hair did not grow back.

Coming to terms with hair loss

Like so many people affected by Alopecia, Georgia took to wearing wigs and trying to disguise her hair loss in any way she could. But instead of Alopecia ending her acting career, Georgia has landed more roles, appearing on TV and a budget feature film. She has topped it off by setting up her own production company.

Embracing her hairless status, Georgia has also been reaching out to other young people affected by Alopecia, demonstrating that it is possible to succeed with or without a full head of hair. “For many years, I wanted to be known as the actress or the pretty girl. But Alopecia made me realize my strength was being honest,” she said.

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The Belgravia Centre

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