“One morning I woke up, I felt a breeze on my head. For the first time, I actually felt really naked with clothes on. I was 11. I remembered yesterday, I told my mom I had kutu. She was freaked out, of course. I was her firstborn. Nobody had it before me, and probably if my siblings would have it, it would be after me with more experience. She, like all mothers, wanted me to go to school without any kutu in my hair. So, it must’ve been the panic and the urgency to use the lice shampoo and I slept with it. I lost my hair because I guess I was sensitive to it. I didn’t blame my mother at all. We found out the next day that I had eczema. We went to multiple doctors, I took vitamins and did sports because most doctors said it was because of my weight and I was just really sad and I felt very ugly because of how I was looked upon without hair.
When my hair started growing, I looked more like a boy. I called one of my best friends at the time to make sure if she still wanted to be friends with me. 2019, just minutes ago while typing this I asked my boyfriend––would you still love me if I showed you my bald photos when I was 10? He said yes. Not optional, duh. As I write this, I’m still emotional because I had such low self-esteem that wearing a bandana didn’t help one bit. It didn’t change how society looked upon me, a girl, who didn’t have long, voluminous locks. To them, it meant that I wanted to be a boy, I wanted to be rebellious. That I wasn’t a picture-perfect good girl.”
The objective for this shoot is to commemorate little you, future you and the girls and women who want to go bald but never had the courage to do so or has to go bald because of their circumstances. You are not your hair. This is a poignant reminder that women, despite their looks, are not representatives of the typecasts so often thrust upon them. I personally want to look at women without hair to appear more often in all spectrums of womanhood. Sometimes, you go to the salon and you just hate your hair, and that’s okay.
Recently, we contacted these women: Roisin O’ Reilly, Cheryl Lee Yesudas, Jadeleen Lee Jiare, Delnah Muncher Kappawalla, Emma Megan Khoo, and Katrina Ligas Asho Kumar for a photography project we’ve been meaning to do. We’ve always thought that women who shaved their heads had the most strength, the most powerful, and most of all, empowering.
We met the girls for the first time during the shoot and left the shoot feeling more like a family than ever. I’m glad that there’s no proof for anyone to refer and come back to when they want to have the most stable hairstyle they can ever have. No matter what your situation is, we love you and these girls are living proof that you can throw a big “Fuck off and fuck you” to all the negative associations there are about women and their hair. This isn’t a trend, this is about individuality, identity and you.
Embrace that. We wish and would hope that you would look at these beautiful women and have the courage to do what they did.
- Photography and concept by Alia Soraya.
- Art direction and styling by Dhan Illiani Yusof and Rathika Sheila.
- Video production and editing by Alia Soraya and Ira Erina.
- Makeup by Sharifah Hafizah Habshee, Afie Rohim, and Natasha Pea.
- Assisted by Caliph, Amir Shiraz, and Yasmin Arisa.
- Wardrobe by Nabil Volkers, Behati Co, and EIC’s own.