Actress turned entrepreneur Amy Gibson is a master at making lemonade out of lemons. Diagnosed with Alopecia Areata as a young teen, Gibson found a way to live with hair loss and eventually, baldness.
Because she understood the trauma and agony that women experience from losing their hair, she is determined to make helping others her life-long work, particularly the cancer community.
‘Women going through cancer are truly my heroes,” the entrepreneur said. “They are facing their own mortality and also have to get it together for their family. On top of that, they are going to lose the once thing that is a symbol of their sexuality.”
When Gibson appeared on a New York soap as a teen, she experienced lost patches of hair. It was tough, but she tried to hide this from set hairdressers. For 18 years, the actress took cortisone, until a treatment was more than she could handle (she was given too much). She made a decision; no more chemicals. The result: total hair loss in three weeks. Timing was not great, as she started appearing on General Hospital. Fortunately producers were supportive and expanded her role to accommodate various wigs and hairstyles.
At that time, she created Crown and Glory Enterprises, a consulting firm for those in need of guidance while dealing with hair loss. Within that came a lecture series on female empowerment and self awareness.
Although the motivator has never experienced cancer herself, said understands the frustrations of chemo. After someone is given the unexpected life-altering diagnosis, she first tries to make them comfortable. Then, she does her magic and makes them look sensational.
In a way, Gibson is still playing a role, but not on television. She is part-time shrink, part-time beauty consultant and part-time friend, teaching her clients that they can get through the process together.
Her wigs are first designed to look like their hair before the loss. If clients are unhappy with their old look and want a change, Gibson encourages them to have fun, change the perception of their face and create a new reality with a totally different presence.
The Whole Truth’s Maura Tierney was a recent patient.
“She’s gorgeous and looked amazing with two different pieces,” Gibson said. “She wore them during treatments, but as her hair started growing back, she wore her hair short.”
Gibson says that hair can fall out on your pillow, or in the shower. She even saw someone lose their hair in their soup (in public.)
“It’s horrible,” she said. “I suggest they buzz it off as soon as possible.”
The compassionate entrepre-neur has her own studio, but also has a space at Premiere Oncology in Santa Monica.
“It’s a state of the art medical facility, that doesn’t even look or feel like one,” she said.
Her company is so successful, she is expanding nationwide.
“I was a financial target when I went in for my first wig; they knew me from soaps,” she said. “But I was an unemployed actress. I felt out of control. No one could tell me where alopecia came from or how to live like a woman. No one was well-versed in wigs. I really try to work with my clients to get the best possible look, as well as the best investment.”
In addition, Gibson is on-call at Cedars Sinai (which she does pro-bono) and helps them through a painful time.
For more information, vsiit www.createdhair.com.
Sue Facter writes about all things A-list including entertainment, travel and beauty. Her credits range from USA Today to TV Guide.