Jada Pinkett-Smith opens up on devastating hair loss – and she's not alone

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  • Jada Pinkett Smith
    Jada Pinkett Smith
    American actress

Watch: Jada Pinkett Smith opens up about hair loss and 'wants to be friends with alopecia'

Hair loss can be devastating. But Jada Pinkett Smith, star of The Matrix Resurrections, has said she can “only laugh” during her ongoing struggles with alopecia and joked that she will decorate her bald patch with rhinestones.

The actress and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her experiences with hair loss and revealed that it's what prompted her to shave her head.

Speaking in an Instagram video, the 50-year-old star explained that the latest development in her condition will be hard to hide. She ran a finger over a bald line across the middle of her scalp and said, “Now, at this point, I can only laugh. 

"You all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia and just all of a sudden one day, look at this line right here. Look at that.

“So it just showed up like that and this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide," said the star. "So I thought I’d just share it, so you are not asking any questions.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 18: Jada Pinkett Smith attends
Jada at The Matrix Resurrections premiere. (PA)

Pinkett Smith added that she's going to look on the bright side, continuing: “You know, mama’s going to put some rhinestones in there.

“I’m going to make me a little crown. That’s what mama’s going to do.”

Read more: Jada Pinkett Smith praised for embracing alopecia on socials

She captioned the video: “Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something.

“Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”

Pinkett Smith, who has children Willow and Jaden with husband Will Smith, has previously said it was her daughter who encouraged her to embrace her new look and shave her head.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith attend the 2021 AFI Fest: Closing Night Premiere Of Warner Bros.
Jada Pinkett-Smith with her family this year. (Getty Images)

She wrote on Instagram: “Willow made me do it because it was time to let go, BUT … my 50’s are 'bout to be Divinely lit with this shed.”

Pinkett-Smith has previously spoken about her alopecia areata, a common condition often related to the immune system.

According to the charity alopecia.org.uk: "Alopecia Areata is thought to be an autoimmune condition, which often starts with isolated patches of hair loss, commonly in one or more coin-sized (usually round or oval) patches on the scalp and/or across the body including the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes or body hair."

Jada Pinkett-Smith during 2005 BET Awards - Arrivals at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Jada Pinkett-Smith back in 2005. (PA)

In 2018, she told the BBC: "I've been getting a lot of questions about why I've been wearing this turban.

"Well, I've been having issues with hair loss. And it was terrifying when it first started."

She believed it could be stress-related, and added that she first realised something was wrong when "handfuls of hair" came out in the shower.

"I was just like 'Oh my God, am I going bald?' It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear. That's why I cut my hair and continue to cut it."

Smith mourned the loss of her hair, she said, and found it "difficult to talk about" as taking care of it used to be a "beautiful ritual".

Read more: 23-year-old self-taught body painter creates a work of art on friend's bald head

She also said, however, that she put in into perspective by thinking, "People are out here with cancer, with sick children… I watch the higher power take things every day," she said, adding her hair loss pales by comparison.

"When I looked at it from that perspective it did settle me."

Smith used to wear scarves, saying, "When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen." Now, however, she's gone the full way and shaved it off - and sparked a hair trend in the process.

(L-R) Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the Paramount Pictures' GEMINI MAN Los Angeles Premiere held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, October 6, 2019. (Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA)
The actor kept her hair short for a while, as pictured here in 2019. (Sipa USA)

Pinkett-Smith is not the only star who has struggled with alopecia.

Jesy Nelson, of Little Mix, who went solo this year, lost hair as a teenager during a period of bullying. 

“I was probably about 13 when my hair just started coming out,” she told Fabulous magazine. “Stress can cause alopecia and it wasn’t nice. I got picked on because I’ve always liked to dress differently. I’ve never really wanted to fit in with everyone else.”

Jesy has revealed that she was bullied as a teenager. (PA)
Jesy has revealed that she was bullied as a teenager. (PA)

Supermodel and America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks has also suffered. Talking about a very busy and tricky period of her life, she said: "How can I say this without tearing up? I got a little alopecia from the stress."

Closer to home, Great British Bake-Off presenter Matt Lucas found it very difficult when he lost his hair at just six years old. 

“I have the same insecurities anyone else has about their appearance... well, probably more so,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“I lost my hair when I was six so the fact that I looked different was made apparent to me from a very early age. People always commented on it so I think my way of dealing with it through the years was to disguise myself. It felt like a safe thing to do.”

Viola Davis at the Amazon Studios Troop Zero Los Angeles Premiere held at the Pacific Theatres at The Grove on January 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA, USA (Photo by JC Olivera/Sipa USA)
Viola Davis in 2020 - she now has no confidence issues. (Sipa USA)

Oscar winning actress Viola Davis, too, has admitted finding it very hard to come to terms with losing half of her hair at age 28. 

"I woke up one day and it looked like I had a Mohawk," she told Vulture magazine. "Big splash of bald on the top of my head...I was like, What is this? Until I found out it was stress related. That's how I internalised it.”

But she went on to add that the experience helped her to come to terms with body image issues. 

“I am telling you, I have spent so much of my life not feeling comfortable in my skin," she said. "I am just so not there anymore."

Watch: Sandra Bullock opened up about how trauma and stress caused her to develop alopecia

Additional reporting by PA

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