Model And Former Miss Black America New York Shares Her Experience With Alopecia

Jordan Emanuel
Courtesy of Jordan Emanuel

HYPE HAIR: You share a lot about your journey with alopecia with your followers on social media. Can you tell us a little bit about your first outbreak?

JORDAN EMANUEL: I had my first outbreak at 21. It was after I had my routine chemical relaxer, but my stress levels were at an all-time high, as I had just been evicted from my house due to a violent roommate and was living with my friend and her parents. It started off as a pea-sized circle and grew to the size of a plum. I quickly bought a wig and wore it for six months and never chemically treated my hair again until the Spring of 2018 against my instinct. I got a relaxer again, and instantly I felt an extreme burning. Once it was all out of my hair, I immediately saw how much hair I had lost, and it only got worse over the course of six months. When I started the steroid shots in the balding areas, they helped tremendously, and now I have my whole hairline back. It’s not as thick as it was, but it’s major growth for me. 

HH: When was the moment you first realized that there was something seriously wrong and that it wasn’t just regular shedding of the hair?

JORDAN: It happened pretty immediately after the treatments. I could feel a tingling in my scalp. Sometimes it would even be painful, and that’s when I knew a new spot would be forming soon.

HH: What were some of the emotions you were experiencing while you were dealing with alopecia in the beginning stages?

JORDAN: It was extremely difficult because I was never much of a wig person. I like my hair to look as natural as possible, so micro links, weaves, or clip-ins were my normal way to change my look. But with my hairline practically gone, those things were not an option. I also had the most hair loss at the same time as being announced as Playmate of December 2018, so the juxtaposition of being nude and doing press along with losing my hair was very emotionally draining.  

HH: When you went to see a specialist for it, what did he or she officially determine was the actual cause of your alopecia?

JORDAN: Dr. Graf, my dermatologist, told me that I had triggered my alopecia with the chemicals, and it was only exasperated by the stress of losing my hair. Alopecia is also hereditary, and my great aunt suffers from it, as well.

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