What do you do when you are stressed?
Do you eat? Cry? Get moody? Clean? Go to the gym?
For Anna Victoria Moore, a 20 year old Atlanta based model, the answer is “I pull my lashes out”.
Trichotillomania is an obsessive compulsive disorder where people that suffer from it have the uncontrollable impulse to pull out hair from their body. It’s estimated that four percent of the population worldwide have this condition which is hereditary and more prominent on women. Anna’s first trich episode happened when she was around four years old and since then she has learned to live with her illness.
When at age nine she started receiving treatment to manage her decease her family discovered that her grandmother on her father’s side also had it, but she had hidden her condition from her loved ones by using wigs and fake lashes her whole life.
Anna’s case of trichotillomania is not a severe one and she only pulls her top lashes, where in other cases people also pull hair from their heads, eyebrows, arms, legs, and even genital areas. She explains that when she is involved in stressful situations, she is filled with anxiety and unbearable tension and only finds relief from it when she pulls her eyelashes out. When she does this she does not feel pain, but experiences a sensation of all her worries fading away.
Her condition has affected her career as a model in multiple ways, from agencies refusing to sign her because of her illness to a make up artist in Greece calling her disgusting for not having eyelashes. Anna little by little feels more comfortable going out without her lashes and has decided to share her story in hopes of reaching out to people with her condition. She aspires to see more people in the media with trichotillomania and to inform society of this and other mental illnesses, and how people with different conditions can live a normal life.
I’m inspired by her and wanted to showcase beauty in vulnerability. Maybe someday we will learn to see beauty in unusual faces.
*This article was first published in VICE Colombia but have gotten several request for a translation of this piece.
Special thanks to Piper Von Hoene for the make up artistry. http://www.pipervonhoene.com/