Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model from West Chester Aims to Destigmatize Baldness in Women

bald woman
Image via Christie Valdiserri.
Christie Valdiserri.

After West Chester native Christie Valdiserri walked the runway for Sports Illustrated during Miami Swim Week two years ago, she did something no other model had done before: She slipped off her wig and revealed her baldness to all. Allison Norlian chronicled the brave act for Forbes.

“It was the most liberating moment of my life,” said Valdiserri. “I thought, I’m taking power back. I am controlling what beauty means to me. And I’m showing it to the world.”

Valdiserri, who went on to become the first Sports Illustrated bald model, struggled with alopecia for years. She even lost her job as a cruise ship entertainer due to the condition.

But learning to accept her baldness helped liberate her from shame and self-doubt. It also landed her a dream modeling job.

Today, she is using her platform to help normalize alopecia and baldness in women.

She also created Baldtourage, a community for women and girls who redefine baldness as bold and beautiful. More than 2,000 members strong, the group has monthly meetups, wine nights, and support sessions.

Read more about Christie Valdiserri in Forbes.