Seventeen-year-old Madisyn Babcock is like any other high school student, except for one thing: she just won the internet in a major way. And for all the right reasons! Babcock’s senior photos have not only gone viral (because duh, they’re stunning), but have started a conversation about alopecia and beauty standards.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
“I usually wear head covers due to the bald spots, so going entirely bald and exposing my head was new for me,” Babcock said in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle. The self-described “earth child” had begun to suffer from alopecia this year, with her hair thinning and eventually falling out in spots. Alopecia is a condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Babcock says that she’s had hair her entire life, but going through this year of huge change, she says, “I realized that while hair is pretty, hair does not make you pretty…This became who I am, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Instead of hiding herself, Babcock enlisted her artist mom to draw elaborate flowers onto her head, and photographer Chelsea Taylorto capture it all. Babcock — who is also student body vice president, a Kansas Honors Scholar and the drum major for her school’s band — knew that she wanted to make a statement about how society positions and thinks of people who are bald and suffer from hair loss conditions like alopecia. The important part for Madisyn was about “embracing and embellishing something a lot of people see as a flaw or something to be embarrassed about.”