Jada Pinkett Smith pretty much has it all: a gorgeous, star-studded family (including a marriage to Will Smith that has proven to be true relationship goals), a career that's spanned decades, and looks that would never in a million years betray her age.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are things that go on behind that scenes that we don't always see. Luckily, Jada Pinkett Smith has been open with her life story, often getting candid about herself and her relationship with her husband and kids, proving that celebrities deal with the same issues as non-famous people. In 2018, Smith opened up the dialogue about her life even more when she launched Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch alongside her mother and daughter, giving fans a look at the relatable issues they face as a family.
In a May 2018 Red Table Talk episode titled "Body Confessions" that revolved around the things women don't like about their bodies that aren't easy to change, Smith confessed that she'd been wearing a turban in an effort to hide the fact that she'd been losing her hair. But why the sudden hair loss?
New year, new Jada? The actress took to social media at the beginning of 2018 to debut an edgy short cut. "Then came 2018," the actress wrote, suggesting the cut was a way for her to shed the past and move on in the new year, as many people do.
Of course, this wasn't the first time we'd seen Smith's hair so short. Her short 'do was actually a throwback to her '90s pixie look. The tabloids also compared her cut to a style she rocked in the late '80s, praising her for bringing back the 'do. Even her husband, Will, showed public support for his wife's new hairstyle, slyly uploading a video of her to his Instagram page. "I love her new cut," the former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star wrote in his caption of the video, in which he promised her he wasn't showing her off — even though, as we can see, he definitely was. "I had to show y'all."
But there was more to the haircut than we'd initially thought. While a turban is a traditional piece of headwear for African-American women, Smith explained that her head wraps aren't a fashion statement. Instead, she's been wearing them to hide a serious medical issue. "I've been having issues with hair loss," Smith revealed, explaining how scary it was to discover that she was rapidly losing her hair.
"I was in the shower one day, and then just handfuls of hair just in my hands," she described. "It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear." Smith also revealed that her hair loss was the real reason why she cut her hair short in January 2018, explaining that she'd hoped the layers in the asymmetrical 'do would help hide her major hair change.
Unfortunately, Smith revealed that, despite getting "every kind of test there is to have," no one is really sure what's behind her hair loss. Fortunately, they at least gave her a diagnosis: alopecia.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, alopecia is an autoimmune skin disease that affects almost 7 million people in the United States alone. The NAAF describes three different types of the disease. One is alopecia areata patchy, which is the most common and causes a patchy baldness. The next is alopecia totalis, which is total scalp hair loss. And finally, there is alopecia universalis, or total hair loss on the head, face, and body.
Despite its prevalence, there is currently no cure for alopecia. Part of what makes alopecia so hard to treat is that there is no one main cause. According to the NAAF, scientists have yet to discover whether the "triggers" that kick off the hair loss happen inside or outside of the body, or even a combination of the two. However, the NAAF states that the hair loss isn't always forever, as your hair follicles remain alive, so the hair can grow back — even for those who've lost more than half of their hair!
Written By Staff Contributor: Nick Swift