Isabel Englebert designs jewelry for strong, bold and authentic women. Her pieces overthrow limits and question barriers, seeking to be expression of each woman’s essence. Free, genuine and empowered.
IE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
This contemporary designer firmely believes there are as many kinds of beauty as there are women in the world, and that each one of them should feel free to look as they want to. Through her jewelry, she makes each woman feel beautiful and valuable, showing oneself to the world, fearless of prejudices and insecurities. Isabel’s art pursues to transform paradigms, so that every woman can choose freely and courageously.
Always interested in the transcendental aspect of design, Isabel Engle- bert avoids dwelling merely on jewelry aesthetics. In her pieces, which she calls “Wearable Art”, she searches deeper in order to express a mes- sage, to create a story. She turns art into a tool to reflect and question structures, to achieve a more authentic and empathetic look.
“Every time I design a piece, I think of the woman that’s going to wear it. I want her to feel strong and unique, to dare to show herself as she truly is. My mission is to make every jewel a statement for the woman that wears it, a way of expressing her- self and feel empowered. Because we all have at- tributes that make us unique, that make us differ- ent from the rest. That is why I tell every women: Be Bold, Be You.”
FIRST PERSON BE BOLD
Denise Cirone, a 28 year old woman diagnosed with Alopecia shares her experience and thoughts with Isabel Englebert.
Around seven years ago, close to my 20’s, my hair started falling off. It began as a little patch, near my nucha. I would have never thought I would get bald within a few months.
As the patches grew bigger and new ones appeared, I got really scared and thus started a long journey in which I still am, trying to find answers.
The diagnosis at first was Alopecia Areata, and its treatment consisted of lotions, and if it were to turn into Alopecia Totalis or Universalis, then I would have to take corticosteroids in pills and injections, which happened a few months later. Now I know that my Alopecia is just a symptom of another autoimmune disease.
Every passing month I could see how my mane was being reduced to nothing, while the patches grew nonstop. The intramuscular injections and those in my scalp were terrible, and my body was overfilled with corticosteroids. My face was really swollen, I could barely sleep at night and I was completely exhausted. I wore head scarves, head bands, and a really funny little tupé. I was desperate because my hair wouldn’t stop falling, and the treatment was not working.
My body was SCREAMING and I didn’t know how to listen, how to understand.
I decided there and then to shave my head and buy a wig. But Gosh it was so hard to do so! I knew they would not grow back. After the overload of chemicals in my bloodstream and the emotional burden, I became deeply depressed. I recently overcame this state, with years of professional help.
The next were five long years of darkness. Having to go from doctor to doctor, feeling naked without the wig, feeling less of a woman, less valuable, not loving nor accepting myself. I was terrified of going out without the wig, of running into people that had known me when I had hair, or even of meeting new people. I felt extremely vulnerable, sometimes I even felt ashamed, as if going through all of this was somehow my fault. It has been and still is a great load of emotional work, long hours of therapies and reflection.
The worst part was when I lost my eyebrows and lashes. That was really hard on me. I couldn’t stand staring at myself in the mirror. I wanted to cry so hard and smash the mirror into a thousand pieces.
It is so hard to face our own shadow, to meet our deepest fears, to get rid of old mental and emotional structures and mechanisms. But it is so worth it. It is worth it to get stronger, to be free. It was hard, it sometimes still is. But now I hug myself, love and take care of myself, and try to listen and understand what my body tells me.
Two years ago, after a lot of emotional work in therapy, I decided to go out into the world without the wig, as I am. Bald and bold! Little by little I made it, accepting and loving myself.
One of the hardest parts of the process was learning how to tear down the image of sensuality and femininity related to hair, how to feel a WOMAN like this, as I am now. To recreate my identity, becoming familiar with my reflection in the mirror once again, without having the urge to break it.
This journey goes on every single day. Whenever I wake up feeling blue, I look at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself: “You are free, and that is greater than any mane”. And if my hair grows back, so be it, and if it does not, that’s fine too.
I am thankful for those who have been here for me, and I would love to lend a hand to all of those who are struggling and going through a similar process. I want to hug them and let them that I know that even if it’s so hard, even if they sometimes want to give up, everything is going to be fine, because they are not alone.
It is so important to talk about this, to share, to listen. I am also thankful that nowadays we are actually questioning paradigms and stereotypes. Let’s open up to new ways of beauty, to the idea of living more freely, with less prejudice. Let’s be more open to what is different.
I would like to do everything I can to make Alopecia more visible, to help change the collective mindset. To encourage the young and adults to become more self-aware. I want us to make a change in the way of approaching beauty, I want every person to choosefreely whether they want to wear their wigor not, making their choice free from fears and insecurities. Most of all, I want to invite you to join this revolution of transforming beauty paradigms, structures and stereotypes.
If you wish to contact Denise, you can reach her by email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Alopecia Aerata and the ways you can support people going through this situation, visit www.naaf.org