a guide through trichotillomania, alopecia,
and other hair-loss related glitches

“a declaration of intent”

this is how my speech at BedTalks was entitled after I told them my plan of helping women having hair loss issues around the world

Maybe for some it’s not a big deal, but when you receive a letter saying you are invited to lay in bed with a stranger for a nice talk, even in your mind supposedly a spark of curiosity lights up.

#Theboldgirls project was actually already in my head a few years ago and had crouched in a corner of the possible things to do in life, waiting for someone to tease it like you shouldn’t do with a sleeping dog.

The need, as already written in the introduction to the course, was born from the growing well-being towards myself, respectively to the considerable increase of women afflicted from symptoms of hair loss that, I don’t know why, were beginning to pop up like mushrooms in front of my eyes, no longer going unnoticed.

I say “afflicted” and not “affected” because when it happens, it certainly doesn’t go easy on you. I was so young when it did happen, that I had the chance to face it step by step, slamming against different walls, sometimes with adequate protections, but most of the times, as it happens in real life every day, in perhaps the most vulnerable moments.

These women I began to notice more often, had cancer and they were fighting hard; I can tell because I have always seen them in everyday situations like afamily holiday, grocery shopping, attending important events, at work.

As if they were unconcerned about everything that was happening inside them, I saw them smile, be focused, still be at everybody else’s service.

The strength that it takes must be immeasurable; it may often come from a choice, but I imagine that other times it can also come from a day of resignation.

I have really had a ton of those days.

This said, I started to look at them with different eyes.

What do I mean? My trichotillomania was among the most uncontrolled I’ve ever seen. Unlike many other cases where different therapies have borne good fruit and self-control even better, mine has been totally outside the box.

Normally you tend to rip the face hair and some strands. I torn everything, without leaving a hair in its place from the neck up. But not once, many times. Repeatedly. For years.

Therefore, being in “unpresentable” conditions, especially in teenagehood, I tried to hide the thing in every possible way. But when you try to hide the faults that you can not accept of yourself, they end up being the ones that people see first.

Sometimes we don’t understand shit about ourselves.

However, for me to go on holiday with my family, go shopping, go to events of some importance and work, like all the rest of the normal dynamics that confirm that you basically exist, meant to always have, in the eyes of others, cancer and always be under chemo, without actually being in it.

But I imagine that the looks and questions that have been addressed to me, are exactly those to which every day those that have it for real undergo. For me, those women were like sisters and I’ve always looked at them fascinated because they were fighting two battles in one: mine and theirs.

I have never won mine, but I found a way to surf on it, not only falling less and less frequently in a water that has always been too cold for my taste, but also learning the tricks that get you to championships.

Let’s say that, if all goes well, you have to suffer chemotherapy for a limited amount of time, therefore also its consequences, so you don’t have much time to think about yourself as maybe they do all the women who put on cream and take care of themselves every day, to do justice to those sacred moments of intimacy with ourselves, let’s say that if all goes well you don’t have to get used to learn to live with this new you.

But I had to get used to it and this made me see my sisters differently.

I do not know if it’s “wrong” to think that you can help to shake up their appearance, when meanwhile they are punching off other monsters; maybe some won’t at all to have a well-made turban on their heads, a hat that highlights the features over the right spots of the face, a make-up that transforms the skin into peach, a pair of shades that let the iris sparkle in colors, a jewel that match the clothes with a taste that satisfies the mirrors … but there are many women who have trichotillomania, many that instead have alopecia and many of those who are terrified of losing their hair in chemo that, perhaps, they would like to be guided, at least at the beginning, in this passage from being in color to finding themselves in black and white.

With this shy and presumptuous thought, I would have liked to approach many women who have crossed my path in the last two years, but psychologists have never come to knock on my window to offer their help and I think that makes sense, so I never proposed myself.

I am convinced that those who want to work on themselves must take the first step alone, as I did.

Any other type of help provided with arrogance is almost completely useless: it does not work and if it works, it is often temporary.

The beginner’s luck, the enthusiasm of the moment.

The only possible solution is that the women in question want to take a trip with me and contact me because they have read something and liked it, because they have mirrored themselves in this situation, because they want to feel inspired, because they have rediscovered a sense of curiosity about themselves, because they want to talk to those who have experienced their own pathology, because friends or relatives or acquaintances know who I am and have mentioned me as a possible solution to a question that remains always a step below our priorities.


I said it above that sometimes we do not have a fucking clue about how to be humans.

Feeling good in your skin is very important. To be pleased with yourself, to smile in the mirror in the morning, to do make-up and be satisfied with the result, earning one’s esteem is absolutely fundamental because it completely changes the perspective one has of others, changes the power that people have over us and changes the expectations we have of ourselves.

How to communicate all this in a tutorial on how to make turbans, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

In fact the first time that the idea of helping chemo and alopecia sisters (or who knows what other reasons) had convinced me to take a step towards them, I had started this way: showing different ways of wrapping a turban.

Perhaps I had to mature within the need to do it, as I have it now.

The urge to start exposing myself in some way, in a way that could reach more people all together by putting a video on the cat and epic fails channel, would probably not have led me to reach my goal.

The Student Hotel was that channel for me. Here is the importance of receiving a letter that puts me in bed with a stranger, a French artist who tries to bring light by highlighting her audience, a dialogue with her to explore perhaps one of the most spiritual parts of this work, but that eventually leads to a totally practical aspect of my goal.

In a place like this, certain things are expected because it was built on the basis of sharing art and experiences, with large community spaces where you can meet and I really hope that not only recognised students, but also those who are students of life, take this opportunity as a reason not to tire of believing in the future and in a better tomorrow.

Build, create connections and ignite the hopes of those dreams locked in the drawer that have no age, religion or political party.

Introducing #TheBoldGirls, comfortably from a bed on an international platform that would allow me to reach not only my neighborhood friend’s ear, but to all the women who might feel involved, was for me the real opportunity to give life to this seminar, to my own path in which I will certainly learn more than I can yet imagine, because confronting with women of this caliber will open a window on the world that truly few of us are allowed to see.

If you haven’t yet watched the introduction to the seminar video, you can find it here:

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Miss Swirl

Miss Swirl

Sara Meucci, aka Miss Swirl, is an eclectic Florentine artist. Born in a family of Tuscan artisans, she currently works in fashion and is the youngest teacher of millinery and history of the Florentine hat in Italy. As a writer, she talks about music, composes texts for her songs and those of other musicians. She is working on the launch of a new project, linked to an important personal event that completely changed the course of her life. The project will be multi-channel and build on photography and the naked body; the art of make-up and fashion accessories, which finally become useful for a specific purpose. Each instrument will be used to represent and encourage all women who happen to find themselves without face or head hair, for different reasons. These tools, combined with the knowledge of the artist, will show women how to discover their bravest self, perhaps even their best self, and find the strength to mirror themselves without fear of not recognizing themselves anymore.

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