She's got beauty, she's got brains, and she's got a mysterious disease that robbed her of the very way she'd always dreamed of making it big. Here's my visit with the hair model who may have lost her... See More
She's got beauty, she's got brains, and she's got a mysterious disease that robbed her of the very way she'd always dreamed of making it big. Here's my visit with the hair model who may have lost her livelihood, but found something even greater. Everywhere you look, we are a culture obsessed with hair. Eva! Eva! Reporter: And nowhere is it more important, it seems, than Hollywood, where good hair is a must. So for an aspiring actress like Georgia van cuylenburg, her success has a particularly challenging hurdle. She is bald. If I wasn't in the industry, I wouldn't have to care so much. I think it's very ironic, because I used to always say, you know, hair is one thing I like. And now, it's like, really, that -- that was smart. Take it away, and now I have to look at the rest of me. Now, this wig, I mean, this is my natural color. Reporter: Uh-huh. That's -- Reporter: Like 5 million others in this country, Georgia suffers from alopecia, an auto immune disease that causes sudden and often unpredictable hair loss. Are those eyebrows your eyebrows? They're not. Reporter: And eyelashes? I have three of my eyelashes. Reporter: And so do you have body hair? I have a little bit of body hair. Reporter: Growing up in her native Australia, Georgia was always insecure about the way she looked. But the one thing she loved about herself was her beautiful hair. In fact, she became a hair model. I had this thick, like, amazing hair that was literally, like, I had natural blonde highlights, the kind of ones that women pay lots of money for. Reporter: At 18, Georgia moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Soon, she was appearing in advertisements. She got a part on a kid's show and was doing voiceovers for a major videogame. It's warm and green and very nature-y. Reporter: But one morning, the former hair model would wake up to her worst nightmare. She would lose her most prized asset. You said it started one morning in the shower. In the shower, if I put my hand to it, it would just, instead of like, rubbing, it would just rub out. The hair would just come out of my hands. Reporter: Are we talking handfuls? Handfuls of hair. Reporter: Devastated, Georgia struggled to come to grips with the horror of losing her hair. But through it all, she and her then-boyfriend began filming her most vulnerable moments. Today, I don't feel very pretty. Reporter: It would later become a documentary. What can I do? I don't have hair. People all said, "Don't tell anyone. It will ruin your career. People will judge you. They will see you as sick. They won't hire you. You'll never work again." Reporter: Feeling shame and embarrassment, Georgia kept her alopecia a secret, wearing a wig even to auditions. And she would go to agonizing lengths to get her hair back, first trying acupuncture. The acupuncture was definitely the most painful. I'm sorry, hon. It's okay. Reporter: It's unbelievable what you endured. It looks like she's literally hammering your head with nails. It's a hammer with seven needles on it. And they just bang it across the scalp. It was just this thing of, like, this is so much pain. Is it worth it? Reporter: Georgia would choose to endure another excruciating treatment, smearing an ointment on her head every night that burned her scalp in hopes of creating new hair growth. I didn't sleep so well last night. My head was burning so much. And my back is so sore. Reporter: At one point, you show the back of your head and it's raw, I mean, it looks like it's been boiled. It's difficult to watch. It was never, "Look how brave I am." It was more about, I want people to get how much we try to do something and how much we'll go through -- Reporter: To have hair. Yeah, to have hair. Burning. I was just like, this is ridiculous. It's not worth going through this pain anymore. I need to be honest and be real. Reporter: Slowly, it began to crystallize for Georgia that her desperate efforts weren't working. You made a decision at some point, after you'd lost a vast majority of your hair, to just shave your head. Yes. Reporter: Was that hard to do? It looked like it was. It was a huge moment. Now, it's an egg. Reporter: That very first moment that you saw yourself bald in the mirror, what did you think? Oh, my god. I have no hair. It was freedom. This is it. This is the real me. My only option was to start focusing on the things that make me the happiest. I started meeting kids. This beautiful long hair -- isn't mine. Kids who needed a little help to see the bright side and sharing my story with them. And magically, as I was helping them, they returned the favor tenfold. Sthou much! This is my role and what my truth can actually do to help others is way more important than feeling sorry for M ]
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