Former talk show host and X-Factor Celebrity U.K. contestant Ricki Lake began 2020 by debuting a striking new look on Instagram, showing off her shaved head to her 150,000 followers and telling the story of her ongoing struggle with hair loss and the toll it took on her emotional health.
Ricki is seen in the first of a series of three images staring directly into the camera. She is wearing minimal makeup and wearing a white blouse. The second image, shot in black and white, shows Ricki looking away from the camera into the distance, her long neck displayed by the garment’s deep V-neck. Finally, in the third black-and-white image, Ricki is seen in the distance in the middle of a road flanked with palm trees and arms outstretched.
The decision to cut off her tresses came after what the actress revealed in the caption that accompanied the images was an almost 30-year struggle with both hair loss and the mental toll it took on her emotionally.
The former talk show host penned a lengthy caption where she revealed how she believes the difficulties with her hair began and how she has dealt with the condition over the years.
Ricki began her post by clarifying that she was not ill, nor was she having “a mid-life crisis or mental breakdown.” Rather, she decided that she was going to take charge of something that has held her in its grip for almost three decades.
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Liberated and Free, Me. First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering. Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years. AND I am finally ready to share my secret. Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes….. I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life. It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth. I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in. Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. 🙁 In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair. I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable. I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening. To read more: please go to my Facebook page. ❤️
The actress, who rose to fame playing Tracy Turnblad in the film Hairspray, revealed that she believes her issues began during the filming of the 1988 movie.
Ricki revealed that in order to achieve Tracy’s sky-high coif, the set hairdressers triple-processed and teased her hair every two weeks during filming. She said that after filming concluded, her hair was never the same.
She also believes her hair loss was also due to dieting extremes, birth control, genetics, stress, and hair dye to name a few of the things she believed contributed to the condition. Ricki attempted to solve the problem by using multiple types of hair extensions and even wigs to mask her insecurity over her shedding follicles. She revealed she tried everything to solve the problem, finding hope in some solutions but realizing that these were only temporary fixes before her hair would shed again.
Ricki also said that her time in the spotlight, including time spent as the host of The Ricki Lake Show and as competing as a contestant on Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars, where she came in third place alongside Derek Hough, also took its toll on her hair.
Ricki decided to share her story in an attempt to shed a light on a problem many women face and release herself from the emotional toll the struggle has had on her mental health.
Fans were supportive of Ricki sharing her story and shared their sentiments in the comments section of the post.
“You’re so courageous and you look wonderful!!!” said one fan of the actress and entertainer.
“You are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this. And you look beautiful too.” said a second admirer of Ricki’s.
“You are so beautiful and sharing your story will help so many people! I applaud you!! Happy new year!!” commented a third Instagram follower.