Conducted by Suran, @the_strandie on March 25, 2020
Find Kellie on Instagram, @hairlossboss
Suran: Hi Kellie! I’m so excited to do this! First of all, I’m still kind of blown away that technology has allowed me to not only conduct this interview with you, but also get to know you for about a year now, even though you’re a million miles away!
I’ve known you for about a year because that’s about when I started my own hair journey on IG, but I know you’ve been sharing your hair loss journey for much longer.
Your IG handle itself, @hairlossboss, is how I, as well as many other women, even found you!
How did you come up with the IG handle, @hairlossboss? Where were you physically, mentally, emotionally, when you decided to start sharing your story?
Kellie: Actually my handle used to be @kellie_snaps as the account was started before my hair loss began. Even after I ‘came out’ about wearing toppers I never intended to start sharing my journey religiously on the page.
But I had such a good response to my first post, it inspired me to keep going – especially knowing how much the handful of women who were already sharing their story had helped me.
When I first revealed I had hair loss and was going to start wearing hair, I was feeling very vulnerable. But also empowered. I’d finally found a solution that was going to ease the burden of alopecia. I felt really proud of that initial post, and still do.
Hair Loss Boss just has a good ring to it and well, I’m a fucking boss.
Were there any big roadblocks or struggles you had when you first started sharing your journey? How did others around you react?
Kellie: If anything I felt like not sharing was going to be harder than being open about it. I’d got my first topper and when wearing it, my hair – at least in my opinion – looked different. It felt easier to put it out there on social media, for friends and colleague to see, rather than face a flood of questions (most of which would likely never have come).
The reaction was super positive. I heard from women going through the same thing, and those who knew me already were nothing but happy for me.
I don’t think announcing hair loss or hair wearing to the world is for everyone – but it lifted a weight for me.
How have you seen the IG community grow since you started your account?
Kellie: Exploded is the best word for it, and I’ve only been involved with it for 2.5 years.
I could count on both hands the women I followed on Instagram with hair loss initially (that’s not to say there were others I wasn’t aware of).
It makes me so happy to people owning and rocking their hair loss and hair wearing with confidence. It goes a long way to normalise it and remove the stigma that surrounds baldness.
There are so many companies to buy hair from now too. In some respect the choice can be overwhelming, but we should never complain about having too many options.
And I’m not sure if it’s just algorithms, but I see a lot less companies spruiking their bullshit hair loss cures. I’m hoping it’s the shift in hair wearing being normalised – with the help of celebrities of course – that people feel less desperate about chasing a pipe dream miracle cure.
Obviously, we are more than our hair. And you share other aspects of your life on social media, one of which is your life as a journalist. How do you think female hair loss portrayed in the media today? Are there some opportunities for celebration and also for improvement?
Kellie: I think celebrity wig wearing has worked wonders for women and hair loss. People like Kim Kardashian and Lisa Rinna without hair loss are changing their look daily with helper hair. More and more celebrities with hair loss are sharing their experiences too – it all helps.
What I would like to see is less pity around these stories. “Oh, look at poor so and so – isn’t she SO amazing for being open about going bald”. No, please.
Can we just acknowledge that these are boss women calling bullshit on beauty trends and move on so we can all do the same?
And on your social media, you share a lot of topics related to feminism and sexuality. How do you personally connect these different topics with hair loss and beauty?
Kellie: I am all about improving the sex lives of women – and because sexuality is so closely tied to how we feel about our bodies and appearance, they really go hand in hand.
You know I’ve had a small number of critics who disliked that I embraced not wearing a bra, and growing my armpit hair, for example. It really says a lot about how far we have to go in accepting women can make their own choices about their bodies.
The decision to wear a wig, topper, extensions is no different for any other choice we make about our appearance.
------ And now ladies and gents, an intermission ------
Vacation Destination of Choice?
Kellie: I loved the Amalfi Coast in Italy, but if I could have my pick it’d be Byron Bay – just 1.5 hours from home. For any US followers – that’s where hottie Chris Hemsworth lives.
Kellie: Bill is such a cuddly dog. He loves to be held all the time. Peppa really loves to share my pillow.
Favorite topping/condiment on a sandwich?
Kellie: HP sauce – get around it!
Current girl crush (or any crush, besides Trav):
Kellie: I’m dangerously obsessed with feminist Florence Given.
Kellie: I cut my own bio hair all the time – with dog grooming scissors.
It turned out OK. Nobody ever really sees my bio hair out so it doesn’t matter.
------ Back to our regular programming ------
What’s something you wish you had known back when you first started wearing hair?
Kellie: That your first piece won’t be your perfect piece, so there’s no point overthinking it.
The only way you can start to learn is to get something and start playing with it. You learn so much from your first purchase.
What would your advice be to someone who is thinking about wearing hair?
Kellie: Hair doesn’t have to be for special occasions. If you get a wig or topper you love – wear that thing day-in and day-out.
You deserve to always feel beautiful and confident, and if hair does that for you, rock it however often you like.
What is your typical spiel when you tell someone new that you wear hair? How does that conversation usually go with you and the person you interact with?
Kellie: These conversations most commonly take place in my work kitchen or retail stores, not shit.
It usually goes something like:
Them: Wow, your hair looks great! Did you just get it done?
Me: Thank you. It’s a wig.
Them: What? I never would have known.
People will follow your lead when it comes to these conversations. The bigger deal you make it, the bigger deal they will treat it.
And lastly, wigs or toppers?
Kellie: Wigs! Total convert here. I think you can get a more natural look. Toppers are still great for those hot days though.