October 21, 2020

Joy Blenman, Bald, Black and Beautiful

An Interview with Joy Blenman of Joyful Beauty

I was watching Joy’s video about how she built confidence despite her hair loss. The way that she talked about not seeing herself represented in the media really hit my heart deep. It made me think let ME get her in front of my camera so that I can amplify her beauty!! As we chatted about outfits and styles, I asked her if she would feel comfortable taking photos with and without her wig.  I didn’t want any of the photographs to be a before and after-I wanted all the photos to show her beauty and ability to have fun with various looks.  We had a great time at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto, Ontario.  I loved the opportunity to learn more about Joy, black-owned businesses and I now know the difference between a lace front wig and a full lace wig! 

Hi Joy! Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Hello, I’m Joy Blenman. I am a Toronto-based writer who is bald, black, and beautiful. I didn’t always introduce myself with this much clarity and confidence, though. As someone who has alopecia, I struggled with self-worth and identity issues growing up.

That’s why I recently created my YouTube Channel Joyful Beauty where people could explore beauty tips and celebrate their unique beauty.

Joyful Beauty is about embracing life in all its fullness. It is an ode to living joyfully because what’s more beautiful than becoming more you?

Bold Black Beautiful Woman with Alopecia

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto Photographer Evergreen Brickworks Toronto PhotographerBold Black Beautiful Woman with Alopecia

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto Photographer

What is alopecia, and how has it affected you? 

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss. The condition occurs when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and stop hair production. It is still unknown what causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles in this way. I have had alopecia universals—total body hair loss since I was 13- months old.  

A lot of the stigma about alopecia stems from the fact that there is sheer ignorance about the condition. Most people aren’t used to meeting someone with alopecia, so taking the time to educate people on alopecia is helpful for both parties.

You can read more about alopecia and my alopecia story on my blog

Black woman with alopecia taking off wig Black woman with alopecia taking off wig Black woman with alopecia taking off wig Black woman with alopecia taking off wig Black woman with alopecia taking off wig

Bold Black Beautiful Woman with Alopecia

Growing up, did you see yourself represented in the media? 

I think that historically beauty ideals displayed on TV, in magazines, and in newspapers have been quite narrow, not diverse, and unrealistic, so I wanted to launch a YouTube Channel/platform that would encourage people to embrace their unique beauty.

I know what it feels like to feel lonely or not worthy due to hair loss, so I want to encourage people and let them know that it does get better. The right friends, partners, and even employers will embrace you with open arms, and the people who are unkind to you are not meant for you. 

It takes time to build confidence, so be kind to yourself; however, I’ve found that the more than I have learned to accept myself, the more the world has opened up to me—both personally and professionally. 

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto Photographer Black woman with alopecia

What would you say to others to encourage them to show up and be themselves?

Becoming self-confident is a lifelong journey and something that people of all ages struggle with. However, developing my skills as a writer, forming healthy relationships, working out, and practicing self-care has helped me feel healthier and more confident. 

Evergreen Brickworks Toronto Photographer  Black woman with alopecia

Where can we follow you?

On Instagram, I am @Joyfulxbeauty You can learn more about my journey and how I practice self-care on my YouTube Channel, Joyful Beauty. There I share beauty, skincare, and self-care tips. Follow my blog at www.Joyfulbeauty.ca

Bold Black Beautiful Woman with Alopecia

If this inspired you, then leave some love in the comments below!

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