All brides know the struggle of looking their absolute best for their engagement photos. You have to find a gorgeous shoot location, an affordable photographer and the perfect stylist. I still remember when my sister poured through an entire list of hair and makeup stylists to find the one that was best suited her for her wedding.
One woman took a different approach to looking her absolute best for her engagement photos. Makenzee Meaux, 21, chose a more natural setting for her photoshoot by taking off the wig she wore since she was eight years old.
When she was younger, Meaux was diagnosed with alopecia universalis, which means a complete loss of hair. According to the U.S. Department of Health, this autoimmune disease has no clear cause or cure, although there have been the odd case or two of partial hair regrowth. Within six months of her diagnosis, an eight-year-old Meaux lost all her hair and a lot of her confidence.
Meaux was given a special wig that would remain securely in place unlike other wigs that would require regular upkeep to stay in place. She wore a natural wig for the next several years and kept her autoimmune disease to herself.
“People still knew that something was wrong with me and always assumed it was cancer,” Meaux explained. “I never clarified because I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone – I’d avoid subject completely.”
She continued to dance around the subject until her sophomore year of high school when she dated Bryan Ballard. After dating for three months, Meaux’s father revealed that his daughter had alopecia. By a stroke of luck or love, Ballard wasn’t put off by the news.
“He came to me and said, ‘Hair doesn’t matter to me. I love you and I’m here for you 100 percent. You have my support,'” Meaux said. A few weeks later, she took her wig off in front of him for the first time. He was surprised at first, but he still thought she was very beautiful, according to Meaux.
These high school sweethearts continued their romance long past graduation. The two got engaged in May and chose The Frost Collective as their engagement photographers. Rather than hide her Alopecia, she chose to pose without her wig and share her photos on Facebook. She and her husband wore blue during their shoot for Alopecia awareness.
“While taking our engagement pictures I decided that it was time to stop hiding from the one thing I tried hardest to hide for almost 15 years and embrace my true self.” she wrote on her Facebook post. She went on to admit just how much Ballard’s support made her feel confident and beautiful again despite her Alopecia. “He has helped me be brave and realize that hair is not what makes you beautiful and is not what makes people love you, it is truly all about what’s on the inside and for that I am forever grateful for him.”
Her post quickly went viral after a number of family and friends shared her photos on social media. Since uploading it on Facebook, her post has been shared over 250 times and has received over 1,700 likes.
According to Cosmopolitan, Meaux admits that she’ll probably wear her wig while she walks down the aisle. The lovely bride-to-be reveals that she’s “still not 100 percent confident [without it],” but she intends to remove it every now and then for a dance or for photos.
You can see her full photoshoot on The Frost Collective’s website here.