Philadelphia news anchor Aziza Shuler recently shared her story about living with alopecia.
“Up until last year, when I did some self-discovery work through therapy, I didnt think this was a story worth sharing— rather better off kept a secret. But as my father says the fewer secrets you have, the closer you are to freeing your spirit!,” she wrote.
“So what does FREEDOM mean to me?✨Knowing without a shadow of doubt WHO I AM. ✨My worth isn’t determined by what I have or lack. ✨No longer chasing perfection. ✨Walking out into the “world” without having to prepare to put on an ‘identity.’ ✨Confronting my fears for ME! I’ve given myself permission to REINVENT myself, because ‘I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul’ – Invictus. Thank you to my family, friends, strangers, viewers, and my @cbsphiladelphia team for all your support! I needed you all!,” Shuler continued.
The video starts off with a typical morning for Shuler.
“How I look is an important part of my job – the makeup, the wardrobe – all under the bright lights of the studio,” Shuler said. “It’s an effort to look perfect when I come on your TV screen to bring you the news.”
The video shows a montage of Shuler’s segments for CBS Philadelphia News.
“I spent most of my life trying to be perfect,” the news anchor continued.
“And that’s involved hiding two big secrets. One is that I have alopecia. It’s an autoimmune disease that’s caused all my hair to fall out. I wear a wig every day – personally and professionally. But I come to realize this isn’t me. And I want you all to know the real me and how it all started,” Shuler said.
Aziza Shuler Reveals Her Second Secret
In addition to her battle with alopecia, Shuler had another secret that she revealed on air.
“For a long time, the other secret in my life was my traumatic childhood. My mother gave birth to me when she was in a women’s jail.
Shuler admitted that her childhood wasn’t easy. She was one of seven siblings, and her parents suffered from drug addiction. By age five, she and her siblings ended up in the foster system, where she was physically and sexually abused.
“When I was 12 years old, I woke up one day touching my hair, and I found the bald spot. It was about the size of a lemon slice,” Shuler shared. “We found out that it is alopecia. A type that is commonly caused by stress and trauma. Within a year, I lost all my hair, and I’ve been wearing a wig ever since.”
Shuler expressed the shame and insecurities she felt having to hide under her smile and wigs.
“My identity was tied to my hair or lack thereof. I became obsessed with my appearance. I would spend hours in the mirror, meticulously styling my hair so that my wig would appear as natural as possible,” she explained. “But I am tired. I am tired of hiding [and] living in fear. And that starts without my wig.”
Shuler’s boyfriend was the person she’s ever showed her bald head to.
“In that moment, I lost all the shame and fear I was carrying for so long,” she proclaimed. “It was then I knew I was ready to show my true self to the world.”
Viewers see clips of Shuler rocking her beautiful, bald crown.
She finally felt free. Shuler wants to inspire others to be fearless and themselves.
“Be fearless, be you because that is where true beauty lies,” she ended.