Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me by Alyscia Cunningham

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM Virtual Book Tour for the women's issues photography book I Am More Than My Hair with photography by Alyscia Cunningham. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have a guest post about what makes a person beautiful to author Alyscia Cunningham and an excerpt for you. There's also a tour wide giveaway. Be sure to check out the rest of the blogs on the tour here. Enjoy!
From the time we are young, girls are pressured into a set belief of beauty standards. Hair is certainly high on the list and is often labeled as our "crown and glory." Where does this notion fit for a girl with alopecia (the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness)? This new coffee table book should bring light to the issue.

I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me, is a two-part project, documentary film and coffee table book. The newly published book features 138 portraits of 46 women and the stories of their experience with hair loss, as well as women who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one.

Debbie, 31

My friends and family supported me

On May 24, 2011, I discovered a large mass in my left breast while I was doing my self-check. Later that day, I went to the National Cancer Prevention Institute in Lagos for a breast screening. A nurse screened both my breasts and my cervix and referred me for sonography, which was done at a local scanning center. On June 3, 2011, I had a Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology procedure at Me Cure Health Care Limited to diagnose my condition. I was told that the breast lump was benign and that the left auxiliary lymph node was negative for malignant cells. On June 11, 2011, I had my first lumpectomy at a local medical center.

Barely four months later, I discovered another lump slightly above the previous operation site and had surgery at the same hospital. But this time, I insisted on further medical investigation to know why the cancer recurred. That’s when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. By April 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage IV carcinoma.

I had withheld the news from my dad because he was hospitalized for paralysis, but with the latest diagnosis, I couldn’t hold the news any longer. I told my dad about it on July 31, 2012 hoping he had gained enough strength to handle the news but, unfortunately for me, he passed on to glory the following day, which was my birthday, August 1, 2012.

My friends and family supported me and, before I knew what was happening, all my friends joined a campaign for me on Twitter tagged “walk against cancer, #savedebbie.” I got the exact amount of money I needed for my treatment in the United States ($55,000), but I had to start chemotherapy right away in Nigeria.

I arrived in the United States in October 2012 and started treatment at Howard University Hospital. I had chemotherapy for 10 months followed by a bilateral mastectomy in October 2013. To the glory of God, I survived Stage IV breast cancer, but I am still fighting bone and liver cancer.

Rest in peace, Debbie: August 1, 1984 – April 1, 2016.
About the Author:
Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker and photographer who has contributed to the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and AOL. In September 2013 Alyscia self-published Feminine Transitions, a photography book encompassed with portraits of raw feminine beauty. Her recently published photography book and upcoming documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair, features 138 portraits of 46 females and the stories of their experience with hair loss as well as females who cut their hair in solidarity of a loved one. Alyscia creates these, and future projects, with the consideration of art for social-change.

Alyscia specializes in promoting our natural beauty because she believes the media does a good job of focusing on our insecurities by bombarding us with ads proclaiming that their appearance without enhancements is inadequate or faulty. Her portraits are unaltered by Photoshop and reveal women as they are naturally, without the façade they put on for others.

Her work has been featured on Fox5 News, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, APlus, and Proud2BMe. To learn more about Alyscia and her work, visit Alyscia.com.

Alyscia also invites you to view her video introductions to Feminine Transitions and I Am More Than My Hair.

I Am More Than My Hair book is now available on Amazon and at these retailers: Bluestockings Bookstore (New York, NY), BookWoman (Austin, TX), East City Bookshop (Washington, DC), Politics and Prose (Washington, DC), Sandy Spring Museum (Ashton, MD), Vroman's Bookstores (Pasadena, CA), Women's Museum of California (San Diego, CA).

Guest Post:
What, in your opinion, makes a person beautiful?

Confidence. It is one of the most beautiful aspects of a person. It transcends on multiple levels and penetrates my memories of that particular individual.

I admire people who love and appreciate themselves above and beyond what we're told we should look like. And with that, having an understanding that they are imperfectly perfect just as we are.

I love this quote…

"If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.” ~Matthew Fox

For me, beauty is imperfect. First and foremost because perfection does not exist. It is an illusion created by the media. Sometimes also created by our own minds.

With confidence, one is aware of themselves and of the beauty of imperfection. Is also being secure in who you are despite the outside voices of who you should be.

This is true beauty.
Alyscia Cunningham will be awarding a limited edition 2019 calendar for "I Am More Than My Hair" (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour. Be sure to leave a comment at a different blog stop each day to increase your chance of winning. You can find a list of all the participating blogs here. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'll be adding the book to my TBR list, as well as watch out for the movie.

    1. Thanks Christina! Feel free to join my email list so I can keep you posted on my film's release date. You can join the list on the contact page of my website www.Alyscia.com.

  2. Sounds good can't wait to read it.

  3. The title made me curious. It takes a strong woman to share so much of herself. Thanks so much for sharing.
    sherry @ fundinmental