LANSING, Mich. — Diagnosed with alopecia at a young age, Lansing's Nekeyta Brunson knows what it's like to not want to be seen.
"Around five or six is when I was diagnosed with alopecia," said Brunson. "I don't remember my hair actually falling out, I remember it fell out in patches. Then I remember wearing wigs to school and kids being like, 'Well, why does she get to wear a hat?' And wigs didn't look how wigs look now."
She said she "just hid" for more than 21 years.
"I just didn't talk about it because I had been teased and bullied," said Brunson.
But one day at a track meet, Nekeyta's daughter pointed to a woman who was bald and said, "Look, Mom. She doesn't have hair. You can do it."
"I felt like my world crashed, because we didn't talk about it at all before that moment," Brunson said. "It was just one of those things in the house that you just don't talk about. So after that I really had to decide whether or not I wanted to keep living the way I was, or to really embrace the change. I started walking myself through what it would look like to accept what was happening, what styles I liked, what makeup would I wear, what would I do if my hair never grew back... And so that's how 'UnCovered' started."
UnCovered Beauty Studio is Nekeyta's way of helping women heal from the inside out. It's where she helps women going through hair loss love their appearance, with our without wigs.
It's where she helps women become more confident with their bodies, whatever they may be going through.
Nekeyta does this through services like facials, massages, time in her "peace room" and makeup and head-wrap styling lessons.
And through her nonprofit, "She's UnCovered," wNekeyta gifts free services to women undergoing medical treatments.
Women like Chelsea Wooton who is in the midst of chemotherapy treatments.
"Going through hair loss myself, I really like connected with her," said Wooton. "Especially embracing my hair loss. I think it helped me realize that people don't just focus on your outer beauty."
Brunson said lots of people try to look exactly like something else "when we don't know how to embrace our unique beauty."
At UnCovered Beauty, Nekeyta says she strives to help heal her clients from within.
"The person I was before uncovering... I'm definitely different now," said Brunson. "I found myself before being very anxious and paranoid, I was afraid my wig was gonna fall off at any point, I was afraid that the mailman or the neighbor would see me through the curtain. So I lived a very paranoid, anxious life. But now, I'm very carefree and stressless."
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