At just 20 years old, Alessia Cara is already emerging as one of today’s most inspirational pop singers. After debuting her self-esteem-boosting anthem “Scars to Your Beautiful” last month — and pledging to go makeup-free every time she performs it — Cara has opened up about the real-life struggle that fueled the song’s themes of self-acceptance.
In a new essay for Glamour, Cara reveals that she entered her notoriously difficult teenage years while losing chunks of her curls in the shower.
“It was one of the scariest things,” she wrote. “It got to the point where it was visibly gone. I struggled with that a lot, especially going into high school. You have so many pressures — what people are going to think of you — and I was going into it losing all my hair... I just kept thinking, ‘Why am I so young and having to deal with this?’”
Cara doesn’t address the causes behind her hair loss, but it can range from hormone imbalance and iron deficiency to excessive styling damage and genetics. She says she’s still experiencing hair loss today, and even notes that she’ll occasionally see paparazzi pics that show thinning spots on her scalp. But she insists she’s much more comfortable in her skin now, and isn’t trying to be anything but herself.
“I am stubborn enough to know not to change myself,” she wrote. “I read things about my hair all the time. But I love my curls now. I always get criticized for my clothing because I like wearing jeans and T-shirts. There’s nothing wrong with dressing sexy. It’s just I don’t want to be anything that I’m not. I’m not here to be a fashion icon. I am here to make songs.”
So in the spirit of celebrating Cara’s music and her inner beauty, revisit her inspirational “Scars to Your Beautiful” video below: