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'It's helped me learn about compassion': Anne Trujillo reflects on life with Alopecia

“I think if anything, I can be an example for others when I say I'm just going to persevere and keep going.”
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Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-16 19:49:15-05

As our Denver New Partner's anchor Anne Trujillo prepares to sign off from nearly four decades on our airwaves, we’re looking back at seminal moments from her career.

One of those moments came in 2012, when Anne went public with a very private battle.

“I was getting some really difficult emails at that time saying, ‘What happened to you? You don't look good, what's going on with you?’” she recalled.

Anne was losing her hair. She recalled in an interview with The Denver Post finding hair “everywhere” at home. She had no hair on her arms and the hair in her eyebrows was thinning.

After several rounds of testing, she was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss. About 2% of the world’s population experience Alopecia, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

“I remember for a long time really looking inside saying, ‘I have the most public job on the planet. And how is it that I am now dealing with this?’” said Trujillo, a one-time winner of Westword’s “Best Hair” award in Denver news.

“I laugh about that now and think, ‘Yeah, I used to have some pretty fabulous hair.”

Anne’s bosses at Denver7 gave her the opportunity to take time off in the wake of the diagnosis. Instead, she had her sights set on covering the upcoming presidential debate in Denver.

“Doing a live TV stand-up outside the University of Denver's Magness Arena on that windy debate night, Trujillo was glad to have headphones holding her hair extensions in place,” read a Denver Post article from Oct. 14, 2012.

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The diagnosis shone a light on a double standard that often rears its ugly head in broadcast television. But it also offered Anne some perspective.

"I look around television in Denver -- of course, I notice everyone's hair now,” she told the Post back in 2012. “I see plenty of men who have had some hair loss. People don't think twice about that. They do when it comes to women.”

"We, women, judge ourselves harshly. This is a message to women: Let's be more supportive of one another."

More than a decade later, that perspective is still front and center as she reflects on her career.

“I think it has also helped me learn more about compassion and respect for others,” she said, a few weeks before her final sign-off. “I think if anything, I can be an example for others when I say I'm just going to persevere and keep going.”