How My Comic-Con Costume Shows the Beauty of Being a Bald Woman
I have alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. Once again this week, I’ll be wearing my “Ilia” costume at the big San Diego Comic-Con. The character is from 1979’s “Star Trek – The Movie,” and, as played by Persis Khambatta, she became a popular sci-fi icon. When people see me in this costume, they don’t see a woman with cancer, or a masculine-looking female. They see me as “normal” and healthy – more than that, they see me as beautiful and sexy! (I apologize if this sounds boastful, but the character is much-loved and I nailed the costume.)
While wearing this costume at two previous Comic-Cons, I was stopped repeatedly and asked to pose for photos. (Google “Ilia Comic Con” to see many of them). Nice-looking young guys wanted to have their picture taken with me. Countless people told me how awesome I looked. Best of all, no one thought I was sick or unusual because of my bald head! Most people assumed I had shaved – I was asked how long it would take my hair to grow back, and complimented for my commitment to the character for shaving my head! When Comic-Con ended, and I returned to real life as a publicly bald woman, I felt a little sad because I was going back to being perceived as ill or strange by many people.
I hope bald women who feel more comfortable in a wig understand that I completely respect your choice, and I want everyone to do what feels best for them. I’m not anti-wig; they just didn’t work out for me. But, for those of you who are “on the fence” or who have considered going “out” bald for whatever reason, I urge you to give it a try. Take baby steps and you may find, as I did, that it just gets easier and becomes who you are.
I dream of the day when all bald women, myself included, can feel just as normal, unremarkable, and beautiful as I feel in my Ilia costume at Comic-Con. I firmly believe this day will come, but only after there are many more bald women seen in public. The only way that will happen is if we do it.