(WEHT) – On Sunday, after the slap heard around the world, everyone was talking about whether they’re Team Smith or Team Rock. But one Hoosier mother says the drama brought light to something way more important.
“Well, it was quite the moment at the Oscars,” said Sandy Rusk of Fishers.
It was quite the moment indeed. The controversy at the Oscars has been talked about non-stop. Some say Chris Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia was insensitive, others disagree. But moreover, it has brought attention to the hair loss condition that comes in different forms. Sandy Rusk is a Hoosier whose daughter, Olivia, suffers from alopecia.
“A lot of people were contacting me saying, oh my goodness, what did you think about what happened?,” said Rusk. “And certainly the word alopecia was in the media like never before.”
Rusk says she doesn’t agree with the violence, but she can feel the emotion behind it.
“If you have someone in your life who you love, and they are going through the struggle with alopecia, it can be quite devastating. And when you see someone you love being affected by something that someone else has said, I can understand the emotions behind what happened.”
Olivia rocks her shaved head. Rusk said when Olivia was eight years old, she stopped wearing her wig altogether.
“She felt like she was hiding herself from others, and I would not have wanted her to feel that way as she was growing up.”
In 2016, Rusk and her daughter decided they wanted to shine light on alopecia by producing a movie about overcoming the insecurities that come with hair loss.
“We decided to produce it to you know, create awareness and also to help other families struggling with hair loss due to alopecia like we did. To see people, little children who have alopecia, how it’s inspired them has just been amazing.”
She said the movie – called “Wig’d Out” – and their organization called “Olivia’s Cause,” has brought together an entire alopecia community, adding that having that support makes all the difference.
“The message in the movie is that whether you have hair or not, you can still be okay and you can still be beautiful.”