Classy and Fabulous!
Coco Chanel said it best...
"A woman should be two things, Classy and Fabulous!"
This is my new friend, Jordan Cobler. She is a "Fly Girl" and one of the most classy and fabulous women that I have ever met. In my art deco blog I have been focusing on the period of history that represented glamour and the American dream of achieving, while showcasing the Englewood Art District and the beauty that remains from days long gone.
When Kara from Life Expressions Photography, first presented Jordan to me as a model for our Art Deco shoot, I was ecstatic. I had seen her photos and thought that she had every bit of class and fabulousness that we needed for a Roaring Twenties wedding. When Jordan asked me what style wig I wanted her to wear I was a little taken back. It never actually dawned on me that she should wear a wig and frankly, I didn't want her to. Besides the fact that she has an exceptionally perfect head, I wondered how many women have had to struggle with the image of themselves on their wedding day and how many would find strength in Jordan Cobler? I left the ball in her court. She opted to go without the wig and I couldn't be happier with the results.
I started to research the medical reasons a woman would lose their hair. Alopecia can be caused by any number of things; hormone disrupters, family history, radiation treatments, medications, diabetes, lupus, age, etc. Jordan's hair loss comes from a diagnosis of trichotillomania, also known as the hair pulling disorder, which is classified under Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For Jordan, her road to healing and empowerment would come with many speedbumps and U-turns.
Many disorders like trichotillomania begin with trauma. Jordan is no exception. In 2007, at the age of 9, Jordan lost her aunt to cancer. She would later lose her grandfather almost exactly 9 years later. Not knowing how to communicate or process the pain of losing someone she adored, she held those feelings at bay. The relief from those
emotions would come one year later when a benign eyelash would become a catalyst for everything to follow. "I was in 4th grade, April 27th, 2007 when I started pulling my hair. I remember sitting second row in my 5th grade classroom while we had a D.A.R.E. Officer come in and talk to us about fire safety. Then suddenly, I felt an eyelash that was bothering me, plucked it out, thought it was the most amazing feeling, and pulled the rest out. All my eye lashes gone within 30 minutes or less." From there, she moved to her eyebrows, and eventually began to pull the hair from her head.
I don't need to tell anyone that middle school sucks. No one has ever said, "Gosh, I just want to redo my middle school years!". To be a young girl with trichotillomania in middle school is the cruelest of all. Jordan's hair pulling became so bad that shaving her head was the only way to spare her scalp from the damage she was doing. It did not spare her from ridicule and bullying from her peers though.
Labeled, teased, and shamed, Jordan tried wigs, hair extensions, and hats. From a counseling standpoint she tried, grieving therapy, medications, cognitive therapy, and a multitude of replacement therapies that taught her to replace the act of pulling with another like activity; knitting, sewing, wearing her nails long, wearing them short, and even sitting on her hands.
There is no cure for trichotillomania. There are moments of relief. There was even an entire year in high school that Jordan did not think of pulling her hair out and had beautiful hair. But that year was followed by a frustrating return to hair pulling and questions that she couldn't answer. What was different about that year? Why couldn't she bottle that one year up and hold onto whatever it was that changed how she processed her emotions? Would she ever be able to go without pulling again?
Today Jordan shares her story with others, wanting to find a way to remove the isolation and stigma that comes with trichotillomania. She is a model and models both in wigs, and without as she did in our shoot. She is a strong and amazing woman who wants to help others who have similar stories as her own. She wants to open her own salon and train every one of her staff on the reasons for alopecia and trich and how to help young men and women. Clients would be able to request a private room for comfort and relief from feeling like they are being observed by others. "I grew up never getting my hair done for dances or just in general and it sucked. When I did get it done I felt like a freak 'cause I'd have random bald patches. What if they think I’m weird?" Jordan's salon would welcome all and cater to those that were losing their hair, either due to medical conditions, age, or trich.
I believe that Coco Chanel would absolutely find Jordan to be classy and fabulous. I find her to be an inspiration and everything that a Fly Girl represents. She walks in beauty and strength and I hope that other women will find her road and journey to be one that they would find courage in themselves.
A special thank you to all the vendors who are represented in these photos
Event and Wedding Coordinator-73-Productions, Event and Wedding Coordination
Photography-Life Expressions Photography
Bride and Groom Attire-Amore Bridal
Floral-Perfect Petals Floral
Models-Brion Pitts and Jordan Cobler
For more information or to find a support group near you, visit The TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors . You can follow Jordan and her journey on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/j_cobbs_00/