"...in March of 2017 Asia’s autoimmune system began to rebel as a result of immense stress. Along with several other auto-immune responses, Asia’s white blood cells began attacking her cranial hair follicles and Asia began experiencing what is called Alopecia Arteria. As a result, Asia began to losing hair in various spots all over her scalp....Needless to say, Asia did not react in a positive manner. To put it plainly, Asia began to panic..."
Ahead of Beauty is a 501(C)(3) BIPOC led nonprofit organization established in 2022 by Founder, Asia McClain Chapman.
Believe it or not, the origins of Ahead of Beauty, start with a true crime podcast.
In 2014, Asia McClain Chapman found herself as the heavily pursued alibi witness featured in season one of the SERIAL podcast.
SERIAL is an investigative journalism podcast that made its debut in October of 2014. Season one follows the 1999 murder of a young, female, high school senior in Baltimore County Maryland and subsequent conviction of the victim’s ex-boyfriend.
Soon after its debut, the podcast became the first ever true crime podcast to “go viral”, garnering over 800 million downloads in subsequent months following the premier of the podcast.
As a result of her involvement as an alibi witness Asia McClain Chapman not only found herself a household name, but also a heavily pursued witness in this suddenly highly publicized, legal drama.
Unfortunately for Asia, the stress of the legal proceedings proved to be more than she anticipated and in March of 2017 Asia’s autoimmune system began to rebel as a result of immense stress. Along with several other auto-immune responses, Asia’s white blood cells began attacking her cranial hair follicles and Asia began experiencing what is called Alopecia Arteria. As a result, Asia began to losing hair in various spots all over her scalp.
Unfortunately, unlike many others who are diagnosed with Alopecia Arteria; Asia did not experience a gradual onset of hair loss. In fact, Asia wasn’t even initially aware of the hair loss, because her hair had been in what is commonly referred to as a “protective hairstyle”. As such, Asia’s scalp was not immediately visible to her.
One morning, as Asia washed and blow dried her hair; she began parting her hair in her normal fashion. Unfortunately this morning, Asia noticed a small bald patch in the front of her scalp. In disbelief, she rubbed the spot hoping, and wishing that the hair would somehow magically reappear. To her horror it did not. Over the course of the following hour, Asia continued to scour her scalp with a variety of parting patterns, searching for more bald spots. To her disbelief, she uncovered many more bald spots, varying in sizes from that of a quarter, to that of a grain of rice. Needless to say, Asia did not react in a positive manner. To put it plainly, Asia began to panic.
After gathering her tears, thoughts and emotions, Asia reached out to a local dermatologist and began multiple series of steroidal scalp injections that would prove to be helpful but very painful. In the meantime, Asia began looking for ways to hide her missing hair. During this time, Asia told no one about her hair loss. Not even her own husband…
During this “hiding phase”, Asia’s hair loss became so pronounced that she took to wearing a series of combover styles, then hair extensions and eventually wigs to hide her missing hair. Unlike some, Asia was not able to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on cranial prosthetics, so she often found myself stuck wearing itchy, low-quality synthetic prosthetics that seldom lasted a month before becoming brittle, tangled and completely unmanageable. Fed up with her options, she began learning everything she could about the components of high-quality human hair wigs and other cranial prosthetics. She began to understand why they were so sought-after and expensive. To combat this dilemma, Asia began having conversations with many professional cranial prosthetic specialists and hair stylists to understand how she could find a personal solution. As a result, Asia learned how to construct and modify high-quality cranial prosthetics comprised of real human hair. After much practice, Asia was able to build wigs and other cranial prosthetics to the caliber of those she had seen selling for thousands of dollars on the internet, but for a fraction of the cost.
Thankfully after many months of steroid injections, Asia’s hair began to regrow, and the bald spots eventually filled in.
Although Asia no longer found herself needing to wear wigs, she continued making and wearing wigs simply for their versatility. Although Asia’s hair returned, she never forgot the feeling of what it was like to suddenly lose hair due to alopecia. She never forgot the daily panic of trying to cover largening bald spots, on a shoestring budget. With that experience in mind, in 2022, Asia founded Ahead of Beauty to help others suffering from medical hair loss due to cancer and alopecia.
In early 2022 Ahead of Beauty was founded with the talents, effort and support of Anthony Morgan, Ashley Petrou, Madeline Hill, India Brown, and Phillip Chapman
At Ahead of Beauty, our mission is to provide high quality, human hair cranial prosthesis (wigs, toppers and Beauty Ban halo extensions) to individuals living with alopecia and those undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatments while battling their cancer diagnosis. We understand how traumatic it can be to lose hair. For many people, particularly women, wearing their head bald is not a desired option and everyone deserves to feel attractive, confident, and comfortable; Especially when faced with a major health challenge.
Sadly, an astronomical number of people wake up to the realization of illness and conditions that affect their ability to maintain their health natural hair. A substantial portion of low and no-cost wig options are composed of synthetic fibers and often to do not hold up to the scrutiny of daily, long-term styling. To make matters worst, many synthetic prosthesis are often described by patients as unattractive, uncomfortable and very unrealistic looking in appearance. Additionally, many patients simply cannot afford the alternative, which is spending tons of money on both their healthcare treatments and an often times “out of pocket expense”, such as a high quality cranial prosthesis that is composed of natural looking, hand tied, human hair. With that being said, Ahead of Beauty’s goal is to help alleviate some of the stress of something as simple as have an affordable, healthy, beautiful head of one hundred percent human hair.
Right now, our volunteers are steadily procuring and constructing cranial prosthesis units for patients in need. These units are then styled and made available to patients no matter their income or accessibility to health insurance.
But we need support…
Making prosthesis units not only takes a significant amount of time, but money for supplies and distribution. Cranial prosthesis units can range anywhere from $500-$3000 depending on the coverage need of the patient. Many of our patients do not have health insurance coverage and those that do, are sometimes faced with the reality that their health insurance policy simply does not cover the full cost of construction supplies, or won’t cover the cost of their unit at all. That is where the help of generous private and corporate donations like yours come into play.
Board of Directors
Learn more about our compassionate approach here.