Some people spend their lives feeling ashamed, believing they're the only person on earth who inflicts self-harm by ripping out their hair. It's something Jillian Corsie, a 25-year-old filmmaker in New York City, wants to change. She doesn't have Trichotillomania, but a close friend growing up did, and the fact that so few people know about it bothers her. "This disorder is three times more prevalent than anorexia," she says. "Why is it that we don't know about this?"
A year ago she started "Trichster," a documentary that follows eight people with the disorder. The film (set to be released spring 2014) is intended to raise awareness and fight the stigma that people with Trich are ugly freaks. "I'm trying to show them as people first and those who have a disorder second," Corsie says. "I'm trying to humanize something that a lot of people see and wrongly perceive."
Rosenblatt, who now publicly blogs about Trich, once distanced herself from the girl who was tripped by kids on the bus. She pushed aside the ex-boyfriends who told her to wear fake eyelashes because "they would make her prettier." Though she stashes black noir eyeliner everywhere – her car, purse, desk drawer – to mask her missing eyelashes, she's slowly allowing people to see her without makeup. And she's strong enough to look at photos of that 7-year-old girl – photos she once told her parents to hide – because she's accepted this is who she is.
"We all have secrets," she says. "Every one of us has some sort of secret we're ashamed of, or embarrassed about and don't want anyone to know. But, really, are they that bad? The people you want around you are going to love you no matter what."