Chingona Revolution is hosted by Erika Cruz, a rebel who left a 6-figure tech job to pursue her own unconventional path to success by following her passion that led to her purpose. Every week, Erika will bring out of you that BADASS LATINA through her experiences to overcome self-doubt and family expectations and lead with COURAGE.
If you have ever lost your hair, we want you to know that you are not alone. So many women lose their hair for so many reasons and the grief of losing your hair can feel overwhelming. Many women have reported having felt shame, felt less beautiful, and they worry about what other people will think of them now that this part of them is lost. Hair loss is not something that we talk about often – we just hope that it never happens to us. But this week’s guest is an empowerment coach for women who have lost their hair and is approaching the issue head-on.
Yomarie “YoMo” Castellano is a proud Puerto Rican and female hair loss empowerment coach and advocate. As a hair loss warrior for the past 10 years due to Androgenic Alopecia, YoMo understands the emotional and physical impacts of hair loss. Her mission is to help women facing challenges in their hair loss journey reclaim their confidence, ignite their inner ch*ngona, and thrive through personalized coaching. She provides guidance and support to help women cultivate a positive self-image and navigate the obstacles surrounding hair loss. Hair Loss Bonita is YoMo’s brand and movement, dedicated to empowering women with hair loss to embrace their inner beauty, reclaim their power, and overcome challenges.
In this week’s episode, YoMo will be telling the story of how was diagnosed with Androgenic Alopecia, how she was able to overcome the grief of losing her hair, and how she empowers other women who have lost their hair to feel confident and beautiful, no matter what they look like. If you or anyone, you know has lost their hair, just know that that does not take away from your beauty. You are beautiful with hair or without it <3
Connect with YoMo:
Yomarie “YoMo” Castellano is a proud Puerto Rican and female hair loss empowerment coach and advocate. As a hair loss warrior for the past 10 years due to Androgenic Alopecia, YoMo understands the emotional and physical impacts of hair loss. Her mission is to help women facing challenges in their hair loss journey reclaim their confidence, ignite their inner ch*ngona, and thrive through personalized coaching. She provides guidance and support to help women cultivate a positive self-image and navigate the obstacles surrounding hair loss.
Hair Loss Bonita is YoMo’s brand and movement, dedicated to empowering women with hair loss to embrace their inner beauty, reclaim their power, and overcome challenges. Beyond her work as a coach, YoMo has overcome a difficult challenge in her life. After struggling with alcohol abuse for 17 years, she has chosen to live her life sober and authentically. Her personal experience has taught her the importance of resilience, self-care, and the power of taking control of one’s life. Now, YoMo is dedicated to helping women facing their own challenges due to hair loss and other obstacles. She believes that every woman is a ch*ngona and deserves to feel confident, empowered, and beautiful.
How to work with Erika:
Post-production for this episode was provided by CCST, a podcast production company.
Erika: Hello rebels and welcome back to Ch*ngona Revolution Podcast. We have such a juicy conversation for you today. something that I actually haven’t really seen on other podcasts that’s like openly spoken about, but I think it impacts so many people. It impacts ourselves as well as family members.
And Yomo, who is our special guest today is doing such a phenomenal job of leading this narrative around hair loss, which I think is something that people feel a lot of shame around, which is why it’s not fully spoken about before, but it impacts so many people that the more we open the dialogue and normalize it because we know that It’s going to affect not just, you know, it’s maybe not only already affecting some people in our family, but it may be already be affecting us or may affect us in the future.
And I think sometimes, you know, it’s like, you don’t really pay attention to something until you’re directly impacted by it and Yomo. I feel like you’re just creating such a safe space for individuals to speak around hair loss. And as you mentioned, before we even started recording how to still have a very.
Full life, even after hair loss, because unfortunately in our society, hair is such is connected to beauty and just, it’s so intertwined, but even as people go through things like chemo and like, there’s so many different reasons for hair loss and I feel like people have their identity so tied into.
Their hair and while it can be a very like beautiful thing like for me embracing my curly hair Which I like hated most of my childhood and I just wanted straight hair and I wanted to change it but also from the other end of the spectrum where like Hair doesn’t make us who we are, it’s just another thing that’s there.
So Yomo, you and I have had a conversation. We met in person in real life. We’ve obviously been virtual friends for a long time, but we met at Sonia’s movement, of event, the first one. And we had so many good conversations that I was like, I have to bring you on the podcast. So Yomo Castano, welcome to Chiana Revolution.
Can you please tell us, Who you are and what you do.
Yomo:Oh my goodness. Thank you for such an amazing, introduction. And I also wanted to say thank you so much for having me here, for giving me the platform, the opportunity to talk to, your listeners about a topic that we don’t talk about.
Right? so who am I? I’m Yomo Castellano. I am a proud Boricua, Uepa, and I am a Hair Loss Empowerment Coach and Advocate as well. I am just so committed to helping women, with their challenges of hair loss, just reclaim their confidence. step into like that ch*ngona that they are because it’s in them, right?
I think that when we go through, struggles in life like hair loss, we kind of forget who we are, but I help them ignite that back, and just thrive in life. I think that when it comes to hair loss, we tend to retrieve and I can speak for myself as someone who has lived with alopecia for many years, specifically under genetic alopecia.
So it’s generic genetic hair loss. you can’t really see I’m wearing a wig right now, rocking her, my new wig, but it’s hair thinning all over my head. and so going through that just really made me feel like I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy of love. I thought that my modeling and acting career was over.
I thought that my partner was going to, not find me attractive. I thought that my familia, mami, my stepdad, everybody would be so embarrassed of seeing me in my thinning hair. Actually, I’m going to show you. Because I this is for me. It’s an accessory, right? I’m not tied to my wig. So my hair that it looks so different, right?
Super thinning as you can see here. I know that if you’re listening my hair, I’ve lost about maybe 70% of my hair. And for a time, I felt just so ugly and not worthy. So here I am all of that experience. And plus my sobriety after 17 years of alcohol abuse, just really inspired me to help others overcome obstacles, help others thrive in spite of these challenges that they have faced in life.
Because let me tell you, life will always life. And so it’s really a matter of how we take these situations and we just work through them and we feel them fully.
Erika: Life will always life. That is so, so true. And you know what, Yomo, when I first started my coaching business, I had, my program was called Purpose Driven Latina. And one of the things that I would teach is that your pain becomes your purpose. And I feel like you were such an embodiment of this, where we’re going to go through pain.
But it’s like, what are you going to do with the challenges that life throws at you? And you’ve really taken those challenges and made those challenges your bitch. You’re like, all right, we’re going to, we’re going to go help empower other people who are going through the same things that I’ve gone through.
So I want you to tell us, like, tell us a little bit about your hair loss story. Like, when did you realize that you were losing hair? like how old were you? You already told us some of the feelings and you were so vulnerable with that. So thank you. And then did this have a role did the alcohol abuse come?
What role did that play in it? Was it a numbing mechanism or were, was that already happening? So tell us, feel free to share whatever you feel comfortable
Yomo: sharing. so I started noticing my hair loss back in 2013. So that was two years after my divorce. So I ended up going to the dermatologist to kind of get to the bottom of this hair loss because I noticed that it was coming out and a lot of it.
So when I went in, the dermatologist said, Oh, it’s just temporary. It’s telogen effluvium. Your hair is going to grow back. You’re going through something traumatic, something difficult in your life. It’s fine. Well, funny story is that my hair never grew back and instead over the years just kept thinning and thinning.
Fast forward to 2019, I’m looking at a photo of my partner and I from the year before around the same time the year before and it just dawned on me. I’m like, wow, my hair looks different. It is way thinner than the year before. So then that led me to see a dermatologist again to really get to the bottom of this.
I’m like, do I have alopecia? See, the thing is that when people think of alopecia, at least for me, I thought of baldness. I had no idea that there are different types of hair loss. I don’t, I didn’t realize there are different causes for hair loss, like hormonal changes, stress, medication, alopecia, all of the things.
So basically, long story short, the dermatologist diagnosed me with androgenic alopecia. And that, I kind of mentally prepared myself for that, but it was still really hard for me to hear it. And so what I did is remembering what I had gained through my sobriety journey, and that was community and how powerful that is.
I went on the internet streets. And so I go on Instagram and I do the hashtag just connecting with other mujeres. I wanted to connect with other Latinas, women of color. Luckily, I came across a lot of women, mostly white women. That we’re talking about hair loss, which is great. I’m so grateful for them.
I remember looking at some of them, showing off with their thinning hair, like me, but then doing like a makeover with their wigs. I’m like, wow, I learned about wigs. I learned about toppers. Which I had no idea in case you don’t know what toppers are It’s basically like a half wick that you just clip on top that helps give your hair more volume anyways, so I went looking for Latinas and I didn’t find them and i’m thinking to myself.
Hold up. Wait a minute This cannot be possible. There are 6. 8 million people in the united states alone with alopecia Like I know I am not the only one so that is what led me to creating Hair Loss Bonita, which is a brand and it’s a movement that helps women who are experiencing hair loss, regardless of what type of hair loss, just, again, reclaim their confidence, ignite their inner ch*ngona, and thrive and live life fully with hair loss.
So that is the part of my hair journey. It’s been so amazing, Erika. I, last year after the Mujero movement, I became certified as a life coach. And so now I have my business offering, one on one, coaching for female hair loss empowerment. And it’s just a privilege. To be able to work with women and support them in this journey.
And like, who would have thought, right? Like losing my hair, suffering so much and being in such a dark point in my life would help me have the privilege and the honor of serving women who are going through this awful journey. So, as far as the sobriety piece, the alcohol abuse piece, so, this, I mean, who knows, maybe it’s all, like, intertwined, but it started, this was, like, back in, like, 2002, all the way through 2019.
I had no idea that I had a problem. I would, drink excessively, not every day. But it’s something that I did. I didn’t, back then, I didn’t have that self-awareness of, well, I’m a very sensitive person, so my nervous system needs to be regulated. I need to tend to it. I had no idea, so I would turn to alcohol.
to sort of level my emotions out. So whether I was super happy, I was having a good time, or I was in the gums, I would drink just to sort of level my emotions. And sometimes because I was having a hard time, and I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings, I would drink to numb them. And looking back, You know, I did not have the coping mechanisms that I do now of taking care of myself, of knowing how to regulate my nervous system, of, knowing what my boundaries are and what my needs are when I’m having big feelings, you know, as a highly sensitive person does, because when I feel mija, when I’m happy, I’m like bouncing off the clouds, right?
And when I’m sad, it feels like I am in the deep, deepest of sorrows. Like I’m just laying on bed and I am just really sad. So that was really hard for me learning once I learned that I’m a highly sensitive person and made the connection like, Oh, that’s why I kept drinking and I drank so much.
So in 2019, after a million and one,breakdowns and low points of my life, I made the decision. I’m like, no, Yomo, you are better than this. You lost your father to drugs and alcohol when you were eight years old. He wouldn’t want that for you. Nobody would want that for you. So, I made that decision and, oh my gosh, it’ll be four years June 28th!
Erika: Congratulations! Happy early anniversary. How exciting. Isn’t it so interesting how, thank you for sharing everything that you shared. I’m gonna, I’m gonna follow up on The, alcohol abuse first, and then we will talk about the hair loss story. So, isn’t it so interesting you mentioned I’m a sensitive person.
So like I’d use it to level out and, you know, I think our society has shown us that sensitivity is not good because we’re such in this like masculine energy of a society where it’s all about productivity and doing. But there is so much power in being sensitive and being intuitive and like really being in tune with yourself.
And yeah, sometimes those feelings don’t feel good, but I feel like that is what makes you such an amazing community builder and such an amazing coach. So how is it that you’re using your. Sensitivity as a superpower.
Yomo: No, my sensitivity is my superpower. Well, I can tell if you are BSing me from a mile away, let’s start with that one.
I often, have this experience where I’ll ask someone a friend how they’re doing. They’re like, Oh, I’m okay. I’m like, really? How are you? Because I just could feel that you’re, you know, your things are not going well. I think that for me, my sensitivity as my superpower is just like my vulnerability and to be able to express my feelings and emotions, which, by the way, at one point, I thought that everybody was like me, that everybody had big feelings and that people talked about their feelings, but quickly.
I realized that is not the case. So, being sensitive and just sort of like being in tune, not only with myself, but with other people, it’s easy for me to connect. With other human beings. And sometimes let me tell you folks have shared some things with me that I’m like, okay, I wasn’t ready for that.
But thank you for trusting me, you know, and of course, everything is safe with me. but no, I being sensitive. It is a superpower. There are certain days when I’m like, Oh, I wish I can just shut this off. I, I know that it’s a gift that allows me to connect with others on such a deep level.
and also the fact that I can feel things and being sober. Oh my gosh. It feels really good to feel all of the feelings.
Erika: Yeah. All of the feelings, right? Even the ones that don’t feel that great, like we can feel them. So yes, thank you so much for vulnerably sharing with us. So as you were telling us your hair loss story.
and you know, just what you’ve learned through, your sobriety journey about the power of community. I am curious. as you know, I run a program called Courage Driven Latina and a lot of my clients work on, well, not all, a lot of my clients, all my clients pick a courage project to work on and the rules for the courage project are.
It has to excite you, but it also has to scare you. And you know that by doing it, you’re going to feel more fulfilled. And when I think of your page of Hair Loss Bonita, in my mind, it’s essentially a courage project because I’m sure it took a lot of courage to show up and let yourself be seen, especially around a topic that is so vulnerable and like, cause you’re really letting your true, authentic self be seen even right now.
Like, and I love how at Mujeron. the conference at the conference, when you were walking down the aisle for your panel, you also removed your wig. So it’s like, anytime you get an opportunity to like bring awareness, you do it in such a powerful and visual way. So back to my question, how is it that you built the courage to start your Instagram page?
And like, what were you, what was going on in your mind? Cause I’m sure you thought about it for a little bit. What was going on in your mind before you did it? And then how did you actually pull the trigger to create the page?
Yomo: yes, it does take a lot of courage. And let me tell you, I can’t even tell you how many vulnerability hangovers I had creating my page, talking about Hair Loss Bonita, coming out and sharing my hair loss journey.
Even right now, sharing with you is not easy because it is vulnerable. It is a very personal part of me that, I’m sharing with the world, right? And it’s sort of like going against societal beauty standards, which by the way, it’s such a BS and toxic. Let’s talk about that. so the reason that I created and what led me to do it is because I don’t want people to suffer in silence.
And I know that’s what hair loss does. There’s so much shame behind that. The same goes with drinking alcohol, right? You’re doing it. in your home, you’re retrieving from the world. You’re not engaging with other people. It’s just such a lonely journey. And if I felt awful and I feel it didn’t feel, myself represented in all the other pages, I wanted other Latinas and other women of color to see themselves in me.
As you know, representation matters. And so as one of my gifts as someone who is very outspoken,I thought this is, I’m meant to do this. I am meant to get out there, raise awareness about female hair loss, do what I can to break stigmas around this topic, as well as wear an alternative hair, because, you know, if no one does it, If I am committed to breaking these stigmas.
This is my role. This is how I’m showing up. And breaking stigmas looks different for everybody. For someone it might mean, well they’re just, you know, they’re not just. They’re sharing their very vulnerable hair loss story with one person. That’s huge, right? And you just think about the ripple effect of being vulnerable, being open, letting other people know that female hair loss is so much more common that we know, right?
50% of women will experience hair loss at one point in their life. Why are we not talking about this topic? I mean, obviously, we know why. So, I’m not done with that. I’m here to break cycles. I’m here to end stigmas. So, this is my way to contribute to doing so.
Erika: I think you are doing such important work. And you know, before you and I spoke, I always like to do at least a little bit of research on the topic that we’re talking about. So not, you know, just enough for questions, not enough to, for me to talk about it, but enough for me to be able to ask insightful questions.
And I thought it was just so interesting that most of what came up for me when I was looking for resources around hair loss was actually. hair loss shampoos and things to fix quote, unquote, the problem, which like, what if there’s nothing to fix? So I’m curious, what is your point of view when it comes to that?
And what would you say to people who are maybe going through what Yomo in 2013 was going through when they start to recognize that they’re going, that they’re losing hair? because they may do the same search and finds like, Oh, let me go buy all these products. Right? Which, like, marketing is nothing more than.
I mean, traditional marketing isn’t, or in like capitalistic marketing can sometimes very much be like fear-based selling like, Oh, people are afraid of losing their hair. So let’s like market that this is going to be like, what’s going to like repair things. So now my question just became a whole damn rant.
So let me come back to the actual question. What are your thoughts about that search that I did and how it was like, just things that were trying to fix the problem. And what would you say to somebody who was in your same place who maybe has done that search? what does Yomo have to say?
Yomo: That is so good because when I looked for Hashtag Just trying to connect with other women. That’s all I saw was like these solutions and I put it in air quotes because I mean, are these FDA approved? Do they really work? And what type of hair loss does this person have? So there’s someone out there setting, selling these like magical pills that will help someone with androgenetic alopecia supposedly, you know, grow hair when in fact that is not possible.
Right. So I would definitely be careful when it comes to that type of marketing and those quote-unquote again, special products that claim to make your hair grow. And that makes me so upset. but anyhow, so for someone who is in the same place that Yomo was in 2013, and that makes me so emotional.
2013 and fast forward through 2019 and 2020. first things first, I would say you are not alone. You are not alone. There are millions of us in the U. S. all over the world who are experiencing hair loss. It’s a lot more common than we think. secondly, I would say embrace your, just the self-love, being your own best friend and being kind to yourself and knowing that.
You know, this is not something that you truly have control over right and oftentimes depending on your hair loss so I would encourage her to see a dermatologist to see if there’s any way to get to the cause of the hair loss sometimes they may not be able to get to the cost But at least knowing that they did something to do their research Remembering that hair loss has a, can have a toll on your emotional health.
So I am a huge advocate for therapy. I’ve been, you know, seen a therapist for many years and it has helped me so much. so it may be something that could work for them. so talking through with someone about their hair loss and things like that would be helpful. Of course, working with a coach like myself, a female hair loss empowerment coach that can help.
Guide you through your hair loss journey going through the grief because after all hair loss Is a loss, right? So how do we cope with this loss? How do we, navigate social situations? Like, maybe you want to tell your partner or your family members, about your hair loss and how they can support you and empower you to empower them to support you because.
Society likes to teach us mujeres that, oh, Miss Independent Woman, this and that, which is baloney. It’s really biased because we’re not meant to navigate life alone. I mean, you have this amazing community, right? The courage driven Latinas and the work that you do, and we turn to each other for support, and we know the power of community.
So finding that support and knowing that. Yes, we all need help. Even coaches hire coaches, even counselors hire other counselors, right? So, turn to the community, turn to, for support. and also exploring your options, right? So, if you work with a dermatologist, maybe there are medications, but really, Do your research and know that basically what you’re getting yourself into because a lot of these medications have side effects.
And do you want to deal with that? Is it worth it? As for me and my type of hair loss, I use Medoxidil, which is an FDA-approved medication that I use topically on my head twice a day. And after a while I was like, no, this is just way too much. I was obsessed with my hair growth. It made my scalp itch. So it was very uncomfortable.
And to think I’m like, of the ingredients that were in this, medication. So, anyways, I turned to wigs. So that helped me work with my self-love, that acceptance. And I understand that it’s not for everybody. Again, the key here is for, this person to empower themselves. What does the hair loss journey look for them for one, it could be, Oh, I’m just going to rock my thinning hair girl.
I’m looking good and I’m loving myself with my thinning hair. That’s beautiful for another one. It could mean, Oh yeah, I’m rocking my wigs. I love them. Another one could be, I’m just going to like bust my hair off or I’m just going to own my gorgeous bald head. So just knowing that this journey looks so different for everyone.
and then last but not least, I would say just patience. Just be patient and be your own best friend, right? We can be the worst critics of our lives. of ourselves. But if we practice that self-compassion, ah, I’m telling you, it makes a world of a difference. I know that for me, I’ve learned to really just turn inward to nurture Yomo from seven years old, like baby Yomo from 19 years old, like all of her and love her and be the best, oh my god, be the best friend that she needs.
At that point in time because for a while I wasn’t and so this is just daily practice to practice that self-love and self-compassion and be our own best friends and never be afraid to ask for help. There are helpers everywhere like Mr. Rogers said. I can’t believe I just said that. but it’s the truth.
It’s the truth. There’s a lot, there are a lot of people out there that, are willing to love and support you in your journey. It’s just a matter of asking for help, truly. The biggest sign of strength is to ask for help. It really is. That was
Erika: so beautifully said. And you know, I think that as people begin to experience, hair loss, a thought that could come up is, you know, you mentioned this at the beginning, like, does my partner still find me attractive?
are my family members going to be ashamed of my hair loss? And we’re so worried about other people’s opinion of us. That we kind of almost neglect the opinion we have of ourselves. And I think the opinion you have of yourself matters more than anything, because if you value yourself, then you aren’t going to put yourself in situations with people who aren’t going to value you, or maybe that their value is.
Subjective based on the amount of hair you have or on your success or subjective based on a specific thing So, how do you become your? Biggest hype woman. How do you become somebody who is self-compassion like somebody who is? Compassionate with oneself. How do you practice self-compassion?
Yomo:That’s a such a good question It is daily practice.
First of all Practicing self compassion. it’s really about self-awareness and always checking in with oneself. How do I feel in this moment? What do I need in this moment? And practicing boundaries and respecting our boundaries. Because when we don’t respect our boundaries, I mean, that. Just allows other people to take advantage of us or for us just to be resentful because we didn’t really say what we wanted and then, you know, it’s too late or whatever.
but just doing the things that bring you joy every single day. Maybe it’s sleeping in, maybe it’s going for a walk, maybe it’s picking up the phone and talking to a friend, maybe it’s taking that salsa dancing class that you honestly, you always wanted to take. So having a list of the things that bring you joy and turning to those, that is really helpful.
but also honoring the moments and the times when you feel sad, When you feel angry, when you feel resentful of, you know, where you are in your hair loss journey. It’s so important to sit with our feelings. Let’s not live there though. Let’s never live there. But it’s important to, to feel our feelings because as they say, you have to feel it to heal it.
Erika: Yes. So we’ve talked a lot about community, the importance of community. It’s, I mean, we both know this. We met through an incredible community that Sonia built, right? Actually, hold on before I go to that question. I just want to highlight one quick thing.
Because I rem, we met over a year ago, we met when I was a guest speaker. We met even before the conference, but we met when I was a guest speaker. I had a workshop for, Mujeron University and you were there. So we virtually met and that’s when I learned about what you were doing. And you had already started Hair Loss Bonita, but you hadn’t started your coaching business.
And I remember we started, we had a quick conversation about how so many women need this and you were convincing yourself and kind of selling yourself on it. And then we had a follow-up conversation about this at the conference. And now I just want to celebrate that you are a certified coach changing women’s lives.
How does that feel to just know, like you were in such a different mental place then and now you get to support other women in this. Oh my gosh,
Yomo: yes, I do remember the first time that I met you. Gosh, you have such great memory. it feels amazing. It really, I feel like a badass ch*ngona. I’m not gonna lie.
I’m not gonna lie. I’m owning it. You are one. Thank you. It feels so, so good. And it just goes to show that we all have the power to turn a struggle, to turn pain into our purpose. And we do it afraid, because let me tell you, I worked so hard to step into this role. Like, talk about mindset work, talk about just really believing that I can do this, and the amount of work that goes behind it.
I had no idea, but, for someone who, you know, is thinking about getting after their dream, o lo que sea, I would say go for it. Go for it. I’m so glad that I did, pursue my coaching business Erica, because I knew that I needed to take Hair Loss Bonita and what I was doing to another level. And so it’s definitely been worth it.
And I know it’s just the beginning. I’m so, so grateful that I get to do something that, you know, just helps someone live a better life. There’s nothing more beautiful than that, in my opinion, to help someone see their potential and guide them in the journey of, again, just igniting that inner chingona that they have.
It just makes me so excited. My smile muscles are getting sore. I’m smiling so much. I’m so happy.
Erika: That is the best. Like, oh man, my cheeks hurt from smiling too much. Or when your stomach hurts from like too much laughter, those that’s the best. So back to my original question, the power of community. I’m curious since you started not only your coaching business, but also Hair Loss Bonita.
Tell us a little bit about the connections that you’ve made with maybe other Latinas or just other women, maybe things that were said to you, or, just share whatever you feel like sharing around community after you made this courageous move to start your page and your coaching business.
Yomo: Yes. So starting Hair Loss Bonita is definitely one of the best things that I’ve ever done in my life.
I have been able to meet women from all over the world, from like Australia, from, you know, India and Asia, all over the US in central America, Latin America, like all of the places. And it’s been really, powerful for me. And of course, for the women that I’m connecting with, one particular, experience that I had that just made me realize, wow, Yomo, you are.
You are in the right path was, meeting with a friend of a friend here in Milwaukee. She had reached out to me and asked me if I could connect with a friend who was looking for wigs, but didn’t really know how to do it. And in my mind, I thought, I’m like, well, first of all, I didn’t know I’m the wig lady.
Okay. So, and then second of all, I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to help them navigate the process. So. Come to find out that she lives like 15 minutes away from me, and that she really wanted to find a wig because she was, battling breast cancer and was undergoing chemo and she wanted to have a wig for a job engagement.
So I went and To her house, I brought like my, I felt like Mary Poppins with like two giant bags and a ton of wigs and I brought it over to her house and I really loved just chatting with her, sharing my hair loss journey, basically raising a mirror in front of her and showing her how beautiful she is with or without hair, and just seeing her face light up while she was putting on the wigs and at one point in that night, she said to me, she’s like, Yomo, she’s like, you have helped me so much and helping me look at hair in a different way.
At one point, I thought that I was going to look like a monster. With my hair loss and that was like when she said that was like, wow, and she said, and you have helped me know and believe that is not true. So having powerful conversations like that, that are transformative to, the women that I engage with.
is amazing. Obviously, it’s really a gift for me. I’m like, thank you for trusting in me. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. And also, it just really, again, reinforced me to just understand that I’m meant to do this. And I believe it with every cell of my body that this is the work that I am meant to do.
And I feel super lucky.
Erika: Did you always know that this was the work you needed to do or did it slowly happen? And then you had these moments where you’re like, Oh yeah, this is confirmation.
Yomo: I think that it was, it was kind of like a slow, process, right? when I started my page, I knew that this was a great decision because I was doing my part in helping break the stigmas, right?
But then I attended a, like a hair loss sisters retreat in Florida last year and being around other women who are experiencing different types of hair loss and just feeling so comfortable and engaging with them and really connecting with them. And having one of them saying, Yomo, we need you to share your gifts of supporting other women in this journey.
We need you to share your gifts of just providing them with that emotional support. And so when I heard that, it was my friend,
Lisi, I’m finally going to go and get certified and just do this work that I’m meant to do. And it’s just been so amazing. It really has.
Erika: Yeah, and I asked this question because I think people listening that I see you and your page and the amount of traction that you have or look at mine, they assume that this was just a very clear path for us.
But the path is always going to seem unclear at the beginning until you start walking it and then you kind of find your way and then you get confirmation along the way and then you may need to pivot and make changes and maybe you end up supporting a group of people you didn’t even know you were going to support.
Like for you, the connection you made around breast cancer, like that’s a whole ideal client for you, right? Like so many women that are going. Through not only battling cancer but then also dealing with the identity, losing like, losing what they identified with as beauty. And I think it was so, I never have connected the idea of hair loss with grief, but when you mentioned it being a loss, I’m like, Oh, that makes so much sense.
So all of this to say, the path isn’t always super clear, but. You are going to get clues along the way that you are on the right path. And that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be the easiest path, but it tends to be the most fulfilling. I love that you
Yomo: said that Erika, because I know that’s what you do.
With your Courage-Driven Latina work, but you’re always reminding us to take action, messy action, because I think sometimes I can speak for myself wrapped up in, Oh, this needs to be perfect. And I need to know right now. And this is, I have to have everything planned out. And it’s like, no, Nana, one thing at a time and trust in the universe.
At least that’s what’s worked for me. Just surrendered. I have surrendered. I’m like, okay. I am picking up all of these clues, I’m taking action, and it’s all coming together so beautifully. it’s really, it’s, I don’t even know how to describe it. it’s eye-opening, it’s life-changing, and it just really solidifies our purpose in life.
I mean, if you would have asked, 15-year-old Yomo, do you know that you’re going to be a female hair loss empowerment coach and you’re going to be celebrating four years of sobriety when you’re 43? I would have said you’re out of your mind. You’re out of your mind. Pero, you just never know, right?
Sometimes we have to go with the flow of where life takes us. And just knowing that we have the power To break cycles. We have the power to make change. We have the power of not allowing a situation, a circumstance in our life. dictate who we are and define us. I mean, I could have easily, I came from, teenage parents.
I grew up in the projects of San Juan, Puerto Rico. My family moved to Milwaukee, you know, my mom and my brothers and I, when I was seven years old, I could have, I was the first in my family to go to college. I could have easily said, Oh, well, you know, I come from a low-income household. I can’t really do this college thing or when I had this dream of, you know, studying abroad.
Oh, well, you know, I can’t. No, we get to create our own paths. And if it’s right, if it’s not created, mira yo, hello, female hair loss empowerment. What is that? Well, I, this is where I’m going with this. Because there is a need and we get to create it, pero let’s make sure that we put all of the support in place, that we hire coaches, right?
For me, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now if it wasn’t for my coaching program with Sonia Saunders, Mujero Movement. If it wasn’t for my coaching with Dema Sanchez. Without my therapist. Right? So remembering that we need support because we do. we wouldn’t be here by lot. And you know, you, I’m sure you can agree, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for truly believing in ourselves but investing in ourselves and in our futures.
Erika: Courage Driven Latina would not exist if I didn’t start working with a coach. This podcast would not exist if I didn’t have a coach. Yes, a hundred percent. And even my clients inspire me, right? So Sonia Saunders is one of my clients and like she motivates me every single day. And it’s just so beautiful to be able to.
Be supported and then support others. So speaking of support, Yomo, how can people work with you? Where can people find you if they are listening and they’re really relating to their, to your story and they’re like, okay, I think that I probably want to work with Yomo. What are the next steps?
Yomo: What should I do?
Thank you. so they can find me on hairlossbonita. com as well as. That’s where I do a lot of my engagement. and then as far as working with me directly right now, I’m offering a three-month private one on one coaching program. So it’s very personalized, very tailored to my clients. So wherever it is that they need, as far as support in their hair loss journey, whether it’s.
building up their self-confidence, whether it’s, learning how to, navigate hair loss in the workplace and your personal, you know, space and anything that they need support in. maybe wig shopping, whatever it is, I am very happy and feel super privileged to support them in that journey.
Erika: Incredible. This has been such a fun and. meaningful conversation. I’m curious. Is there anything that I did not ask you that you would like to share with the listeners?
Yomo: see. I think that we’ve covered quite, quite a bit. I would just reiterate that you’re not alone. Find your community and your support. And just know that you are worth it. I know that oftentimes as women we think that we have to do things alone or oh you’re independent this or independent that yes you can be independent and have a coach yes you can be independent and have a therapist or just whatever other healing mechanism or tool that you use just know that there’s a lot of support and just know again that you are worth it.
Erika: Beautiful. Thank you Yomo so much for joining us for this conversation and thank you for the work that you’re doing, everybody. If you took anything away from this podcast episode, please take a screenshot, tag us both hair loss, Juan, make sure that you go follow Yomo and sent her a dm. If anything resonated with you during this podcast episode, Yomo, have a beautiful day and I will see you on Instagram.
Thank you, Yomo.
Yomo: You too.