The Boldly Bald
2019 was a big year for baldies! As more people (famous and otherwise) have jumped on the boldly bald bandwagon, we've continued to see American culture shift from looking down on baldies to embracing beauty in all forms. Baldness is now a bold look to be celebrated!
Today we want to shine the light on some of the boldest baldies of 2019. These people stand out as true pillars of the bald community- people who are willing to wear their hairless head proudly and promote acceptance for all. Listed in no particular order...except we've saved the boldest for last!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The Rock is a long-time baldie and phenomenal human. 2019 was a big year for this big dude. He starred in two hit movies- Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, and Jumanji. He also started a brand new show- “The Titan Games”. This groundbreaking athletic competition is based on Johnson’s belief that “within each of us is the potential for greatness”.
In addition to his success on the screen, the Rock continued to be intimately involved in his nonprofit, The Dwayne Johnson ROCK Foundation. This group works with children suffering from illness and disability to empower them to improve self-esteem and confidence. They also provide fitness and nutrition programs for kids.
Ricki Lake is an actress, television talk show host, and documentary maker. She is best known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 “Hairspray”. She also hosted “The Ricki Lake Show” for one season and earned a daytime Emmy. In 2008 Lake produced the film “The Business of Being Born”, a documentary about home birth and midwifery. She even included footage of her own home birth.
On January 1st of 2020, Lake publically joined the ranks of the boldly bald. In an emotionally raw and incredibly empowering Facebook post, Lake opened up about her 30-year struggle with hair loss. She discussed the emotional turmoil that it wrought on her life, and all the extreme remedies and treatments she used to maintain a “normal” appearance. Finally, she had enough. “Well, it is a new year and new decade and new me… I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good! I am liberated, I am free. I am releasing and letting go. I am brave. I am beautiful. I am love.”
You need only read through the comments to see how empowering this post was. Thousands of women shared photos and stories of their own bald journey. So powerful!
Tim Howard is widely considered the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. soccer history. Howard started his career in the MLS, before being picked up by the premier league legends, Manchester United. Howard became the USA international team keeper, appearing in two World Cups. He holds the World Cup record for most saves in a single match. After a legendary 22 year career, Howard hung up his gloves in August of 2019.
In addition to his feats on the field, this baldie has built an incredible legacy off the field. He started the Tim Howard Leadership Academy, which is designed to develop self-leadership, advocacy, and resilience for teens with Tourettes Syndrome. As someone with Tourettes, Howard is able to help participants understand and cope with their disorder in a safe environment. He is a shining example of what we can become if we believe in ourselves and persevere through adversity.
Emma Gonzalez survived the tragic shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland in February of 2018. In response, she and several of her fellow students co-founded the group Never Again MSD. The group has worked hard to push for gun-control legislation.
Emma Gonzalez’s bald head became a symbol of the #neveragain movement. 3 days after the shooting, Gonzalez gave a passionate speech at a gun control rally. The speech went viral, reaching millions of viewers. She subsequently helped to organize the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., where she and others spoke to advocate for stricter gun laws.
During 2019, Gonzalez continued to give bold speeches and make media appearances. In addition to gun-control, she advocates inclusion and self-love. She’s proudly bisexual and boldly bald. She wrote in her New York Times article, “it’s liberating to shave my head every week.”
Joe Rogan is a comedian, mixed martial arts commentator, podcaster, and former TV host. Rogan started his career as a stand-up comic and then found his way onto a few TV shows before agreeing to host the bizarre (and disgusting) competition game show Fear Factor. When the show (thankfully!) went off the air in 2006, Rogan resumed his stand-up career, and in 2009 he launched his record-breaking podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
In 2019, this baldie toured a new stand-up special, selling out venues across the country. He continued to commentate UFC matches, and the JRE podcast was the 4th most downloaded podcast of 2019. It provides a platform for activists, politicians, scientists, athletes, and business people to reach his audience of over 3 million listeners. Notable 2019 guests include Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, Bernie Sanders, Mike Tyson, Niel Degrasse Tyson, Russel Brand, and Dr. Phil.
Terry Crews started his wide-ranging career in 1991 as a professional football player. After several rather disappointing years, he retired from the NFL in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He made several appearances in commercials, films, and music videos before getting his break in the movie “Friday After Next” with Ice Cube. He went on to take key roles in the widely successful movies “White Chicks”, “The Longest Yard”, and “Idiocracy”.
Terry Crews has been owning the bald dome for years and looks amazing (with or without his shirt). 2019 saw Crews continue in his role as NYPD police lieutenant on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and as host of America's got talent. He made quite a stir when he joined a strip-flute contestant for a dual performance. Yes, he plays the flute, and yes he was shirtless.
Cory Booker is a bald-headed attorney from New Jersey. He is originally from Newark, New Jersey, where he was a city councilman from 1998 to 2002. In 2006 he was elected Mayor of Newark, a position that he held until 2013. He was then elected to the US Senate representing the state of New Jersey.
In 2019, Booker announced his intention to run for president of the US as a Democratic candidate. He advocates for equality and social justice, and proudly supports women’s rights, affirmative action, and same-sex marriage. Although he's since dropped out of the race, it takes a lot of grit to run a presidential campaign and Cory will be one to watch in the future.
Sharon Blynn is awesome. She’s an actress, activist, writer, cancer survivor, and founder. In 2000 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Through her struggles with treatment, she was inspired to become an activist for cancer awareness and body positivity. In 2002 she founded Bald is Beautiful “a women’s wholeness and ovarian cancer awareness organization dedicated to empowering women to define their beauty and femininity on their own terms.” Although she’s been cancer-free since 2003, she’s kept her dome bald to be a shining image of bald femininity in mainstream media.
In 2019 Blynn starred in the hit movies “Captain Marvel” and “Spiderman: Far From Home”. She played Soren, the alien wife of Talos. She leveraged this role to boldly promote her message of self-love and body positivity in media appearances.
John Travolta is an actor, singer, and dancer whose career took off in 1978 when he played Danny Zuko in the hit movie “Grease”. His 40-year career included key roles in “Saturday Night Fever”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Hairspray”, and “From Paris, With Love”. He’s also a private pilot and owns 4 planes.
On New Year’s day, 2019, Travolta shocked the world by shaving his iconic hair to rock the bald look. In an interview, he said he shaved his head on a New Year’s Eve whim, but the support from his fans was so overwhelming that he decided to keep the look. “It feels great!”
Christ Valdiserri is a professional dancer, fitness instructor, and model. While studying dance at a top program in New York City, she learned she had Alopecia. Over several months, she mourned her beautiful blond hair as it came out in chunks. On her website, Valdiserri is incredibly open and honest in sharing her story about coming to terms with her hair loss and learning to love herself without her hair.
On July 14th, 2019 during the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit runway show Valdiserri stood backstage awaiting her turn to walk. She was among 17 finalists competing for a coveted spot in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition.
Standing backstage, knowing what she was about to do, her nerves were intense. “I was so nervous… but I knew in my heart that I had to do it. I had to do it for myself, for all the tears I’ve cried about this condition, for all the girls and women out there who want to rip off their wigs but are too afraid.”
Halfway down the runway, with thousands of people watching, she did just that. She reached up, took hold of her long blond wig, and pull it clean off to boldly reveal her beautiful bald dome.
In a heartful interview with Sports Illustrated Valdiserri opened up, “I truly believe we need to educate the next generation that beauty comes from who you are, not from what you look like… I want to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold.” We couldn’t agree more!
by Ben Clements, RN
Ben is a Registered Nurse and health writer. When he's not crafting evidence-based articles, he loves playing outdoors with his wife and two young kids.
Visit him on LinkedIn