Movie actress and former TV talk show host Ricki Lake has made news in the new year, sharing her journey with hair loss publicly for the first time.

“This is something that has plagued me for so, so long, it was my secret, you know” Lake told ABC’s Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. On her Twitter, Lake posted, “My hope is that by sharing my truth it inspires anyone suffering from hair loss for any reason to love who they see in the mirror regardless.”

Lake’s story is familiar to many women, including Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham. A longtime business owner in Central New York and founder of Women TIES, LLC, she lives with Alopecia, an auto-immune disease which led her to completely losing her hair in 2018.

“I could identify very much with the fact that it took her so long to come out and to reveal it” Chamberlain Higginbotham says of Lake, “because there’s something about losing your self-identity in the process when you’re losing your hair.”

First diagnosed with it when she was just 25 years old, Chamberlain Higginbotham says she first lost patches of her hair, but in 2008 lost 75% of it. Despite having shots to her head and using steroids to help prompt new hair growth, a couple of years ago she lost all her hair.

“I do have wigs and I do wear them at my professional events but at this point there isn’t anything that is working for me to bring my hair back. With no cure for Alopecia, she says “I had to learn to accept my look to be able to go back out into society and talk about it.”

Chamberlain Higginbotham recently published a book about her journey, titled Under the Rose-Colored Hat. In it, she writes about her condition, the stress it brought to her life, and how and why she accepted living with total hair loss.

“Society is all about what we look like on the outside and yet the most important part of who we are is who we are really on the inside.“

Click here for more information or to purchase the book.