Eighteen is a pivotal age for most kids. It’s the year you become an adult. It’s the time you enter college. For Rachel Fleit, it was also when she stopped wearing wigs.
“I remember it vividly. My life changed after that day,” recalls the Chief Creative Officer for the CFDA-shortlisted Honor, where she oversees everything from creative content to runway shows. (Fleit was producing films when friend Giovanna Randall, Honor’s designer, convinced her to join the company.) The radiant, approachable Fleit, who’s had Alopecia Universalis—a medical condition resulting in hair loss—since childhood, has won as much attention for her visionary work as she has for patiently educating others about her diagnosis.
“I felt defective and deformed. After many attempts, I finally mustered up the courage to stop wearing my wig. People stare at me all the time, but mostly I am oblivious to it or remind myself they’re being lame because they’re afraid.”
Continues Fleit: “Here’s the great irony: When I was wearing a wig, no one told me I was beautiful. Now, almost every single day, seriously, someone tells me I am beautiful.”
That positive attention is not lost on Fleit, who’s emerged an enthusiastic, vocal role model to countless woman at events, during appearances, and through the press. “I have gone through all of the stages of grief,” she says. “Now, I am in the acceptance realm—I think it’s important to share that.”
To the end, she’s a big advocate of taking care of oneself. “I try to get seven hours of sleep and not eat gluten and dairy. And I always use organic products,” she says, before adding: “But I’m a firm believer that it’s everything else you do that contributes to the glow.”