Jeremy, can you describe who you are, where you are from, and a bit about your background and your early years?
My name is Jeremy Park, I am 22 years old and grew up in NJ. I am a hyper active individual and I am obsessed with lifting weights, skiing, surfing, and skating. I also am a photographer and like to make films. My main goal is to inspire others to live a life of freedom and completely and authentically be yourself.
When did you find out that you had Alopecia?
My first outbreak of alopecia was when I was 13 years old after my grandfather passed. It was the first ever traumatic experience and portions of hair behind my ears were completely gone.
What was your first reaction when you found out? What did you do? How did you cope?
Since I was so young and only a portion of my hair was missing and I had long hair at the time, I rarely even remembered I had it. But when I was 20, I lost my entire head of hair within a 3 week time span. I was in shock and had no idea what to think. I was in the middle of my college career and it was super hard for me to leave the house without a hat. I am very fortunate enough to have friends who helped me and cheered me on during these tough times. Without my friends it would have been worse than it already was. It took me about an entire year to fully gain confidence, I still to this day sometimes need to hype myself up.
Was there a breakthrough moment for you, when you decided to embrace the bald lifestyle?
Yes, I actually recovered and grew 90% of my hair back after my first balding episode. But then it all fell out again, which was super frustrating. A few months later, it started to grow back again and I was almost 90% full of hair and then again it fell out. So these rollercoasters of emotions were super taxing on my mental health. The most recent time I had to go bald was definitely a defining moment in my entire life. I looked myself hard in the mirror and realized the hair was merely a distraction and my condition is unique. It allows me to stand out and make my statement of being authentically you even more powerful. I also feel like since my once insecurities are open, the people I come into contact with are always open and I believe it has to do with being comfortable no matter who you are.
Was there anyone in your journey that helped you come to acceptance around your bald look?
Yes, I give it to my entire group of friends. These kids hyped me up like no other, always giving me the love and reassuring me that the bald look is SICK! We would have jokes for people to rub my head for good luck, or kiss my head in a photo. It just created fun and good energy from something so painful at the beginning.
Looking back on your alopecia journey, what does empowerment and living authentically mean to you now?
The feeling of knowing yourself and letting your actions speak for you is what powers me to continue. I like to be completely transparent with who I am on all aspects of my life. Having that trust and comfortable energy is something strong and priceless and very hard to come by nowadays. It’s refreshing to be able to help anyone going through a tough time.
I know fitness is important for you. How did that become a big part of your life?
I was always a skinny kid but loved sports. I played soccer my whole life then in high school I added lacrosse to my schedule. I saw how intense the sport was and I wanted to compete at the highest level because it looked so fun. At 16, I dedicated 1-2 hours per day in the gym and focused on strength and building muscle. With enough time, I eventually got my starting spot in both sports which encouraged me to continue because health and fitness are such a large niche with so many different types of training styles. Also being hyperactive, I like to try new things and challenge my body in unique ways.
Is there anything you would like to share with the MANTL audience about you, your journey, and any advice?
Don’t be afraid to dream. Dream big enough that it scares you then take that energy and put it into action. Listen to your soul and spread the joy you wish to receive because it will come back 10 fold.
What is on the horizon for Jeremy? Your career?
For now, I want to continue pushing my personal brand so I am able to connect with brands such as MANTL to make a positive impact in the world. Bring awareness to cool concepts and products that have full intentions of bettering one's life. Other than that, I am going to take it one step at a time and have as much fun as possible doing it.
How can people follow you?
I operate mostly on IG and Tiktok which is @jpark_fit. I also have a YouTube under my name Jeremy Park. I plan to post more videos and inside looks into my life on there very soon!