Alessia Cara is opening up about her struggle with hair loss that began when she was in elementary school. The singer, who rose to fame with her breakthrough hit ‘Here’ reveals that it is this battle that inspired her new song ‘Scars to Your Beautiful.’

Alessia Cara

Photo: Alessia Cara
Credit: PR Photos

The anthemic song has drawn notice. Its music video features women and young girls — including transgender teens and cancer survivors — revealing their challenges and struggles for self-acceptance under the glare of scrutiny and criticism and underscores the message of the lyrics.

Now, the 20-year-old Canadian singer is revealing the impetus for the song. In an essay for Glamour, Cara opens up about her struggle and how it began. She said that having a hairdresser as a mother meant she had a chance to experiment with a variety of styles. But, she said, “There were times when I just wanted to look like everyone else because people would make comments like, ‘Oh, your hair is so frizzy.”

She went on to say, “So, I started straightening my hair. And maybe that was the reason for it… In late elementary school, early high school, I started losing my hair in chunks in the shower. It was one of the scariest things. It got to the point where it was visibly gone.”

She said she “struggled with that a lot, especially going into high school.” She opened up about the devastating impact, saying, “You have so many pressures—what people are going to think of you—and I was going into it losing all my hair. I had, like, nothing left. It was patches of missing hair that people would point out, because people are mean in high school.”

High school days may be over, and she is, of course, now a rising pop music star, but as she reveals, the battle is not over. She said, “Even now, I struggle with it; sometimes, you can see that my hair is missing in some spots. I have just learned how to accept it.”

She went on to say, “Being in the public eye, you’re always worried about what angle people are going to take pictures of you at. I don’t really care anymore. I just let my hair dry naturally; I don’t hide it.”

It’s a brave admission, in this day and age, and an empowering one. Not only does she inspire others to accept their “imperfections” — as society would define them — but for herself, must surely come some peace of mind, that she’s preempting that kind of crass tabloid exposure. Just think of the celebrities who have had paparazzi pics plastered all over such disreputable publications with blaring headlines about so-and-so going bald. Yes, there’s a whole industry, sadly, that’s devoted to such bullying, and a public that’s still buying it.

Cara further underscored her commitment to inspiring others, and said, “We decided that every performance I do of “Scars,” every interview I do about it, I am not going to be wearing any makeup, because how could I be preaching a song about being yourself and being beautiful and perfect the way you are—and have a full face of makeup?”

She went on to point out that she was not condemning makeup and added, “I just want to tell people there isn’t only one way to look. You can be natural. You can have a full face of makeup. You can be skinny or fat or short or tall. There is no definition for beautiful. There is no right or wrong way. Just be yourself.”

You can see the full article here and watch Alessia Cara and her inspiring ‘Scars to Your Beautiful’ below.