Singer-songwriter Abby Asistio was four years old when she learned about her condition: Alopecia areata.
According to the US-based National Alopecia Areata Foundation, alopecia is a “common autoimmune skin disease” that causes hair loss on certain areas of the body especially around the scalp.
But it doesn't entail losing a few strands, because it results in bald patches.
“I always saw my alopecia as a weakness and something that limited me as a person,” The Voice Philippines Season 1 alumna told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment) in a one-on-one interview held during the recent press launch of female-oriented talk It’s a Girl Thing.
In an interview with ABS-CBN news in 2014, she recalled the days she wore a hat to hide her baldness.
Abby was an easy target for bullies, who would then snatch her hat to embarrass her.
The school's guidance counselor suggested that she wears a wig, but it just made her condition more obvious.
As the singer/vlogger reached her late 20s, she decided not to let it rule and ruin her life.
TURNING POINT. The daughter of former actress Veronica Jones and the late politician Macario "Boy" Asistio Jr. said, "I realized that it was, in fact, an opportunity for me to be a stronger person, and it’s an opportunity to touch other people.
“Since then, I’ve been using my voice and, at the same time, I sing songs and write songs that uplift other people kasi yun din yung naidulot sa akin ng mga nag-inspire sa akin.”
This year, Abby composed a song titled "Beautiful," which was inspired by alopecia.
“...The main message of the song is that you are beautiful just as you are…
“Sinulat ko yun for my younger self, yung four-year-old self ko na kalbo 'tapos umiiyak kasi binu-bully siya.
“Parang bilang ate, kung ako yung sumusulat, kailangan sabihin ko sa bata na ito na maganda siya.”
The director’s cut of the music video showed Abby in her truest form.
“I shot the music video with no hair, totally kalbo, no makeup.
“You are as beautiful as you are.”
OWN BEAUTY. She also made sure it won't hinder her from becoming the person she wants to be.
Abby remarked, “I really wanted to be a singer.
“I wanted to be an artist, but, at the same time, I had insecurities and doubts about myself that I had to overcome also.
“Nag-start ako as an R&B singer, so dapat medyo sexy, medyo long hair, curly hair. Seductive.
“E, I wasn’t like that…
“But in the end, singing is something that I love.”
Most importantly, she was able to embrace her self, "both the good and the bad."
Abby added, "Kailangan ko lang i-embrace yung sarili ko na I may not be like the other singers.
“I just need to be able to express who I am and express myself.
“So, same din, with beauty, I found my own beauty, I think.”
DREAM BIG. As a speaker in the upcoming Manila launch of the young female-oriented talk It’s a Girl Thing happening this November 18, at the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City, Abby would like to stress that sky is the limit as far as dreams are concerned.
She intoned, “Minsan, I guess, as women, parang yung world sinasabi sa atin don’t dream too big kasi if you fall, mas malakas yung bagsak. You’ll get disappointed.
“But why not dream?
“Why not want to change the world?
“We all want to have that one thing that would fire us up and would make us feel that we’re alive.
“Girl power is believing in yourself, believing in your dreams, and loving that you have those dreams…
“Girl power is knowing that anything is possible!”
Even if her hair did not grow back, Abby has chosen to see the bright side.
“I’m still struggling. I’m not perfect. I still go through difficult times, but, in the end, I know that we’re all work in progress.
“Being aware of where you are, what makes you happy, what gives you joy… I think that’s one thing that’s important.
“Kasi kapag naging sobrang solid yun, madali mo rin ma-juggle yung bagay-bagay base sa kung anong nagpapaligaya sa iyo.
“And if I believe and I’m positive that things will go well, eventually, they would.”