Annie Jones was going about her daily tasks at work a few years ago when she caught a glimpse of her reflection in a window. What she saw made her stop in her tracks.
“All I could see was no hair on my head,” Jones said.
Since being diagnosed with lupus in 1994, Jones has experienced a myriad of emotions as she’s learned to adapt to life with the symptoms of her illness, especially the hair loss.
“Hair is a woman’s crowning glory,” said Jones, a veteran who served in the Army for 12 years. “It is a devastating thing for a woman to go through that.”
Jones made an appointment to buy a wig, otherwise known as a cranial prosthesis, through Dianne Sherman, at Hair-A-Diva Wig Boutique at 2201 W. Stan Schlueter Loop, Suite 400A in Killeen, after seeing Sherman’s ad on Facebook. Jones was apprehensive when she first arrived at the salon, but Sherman welcomed her with open arms and supported her through the entire process.
Sherman has been in the wig business for five years — four years at a location in Harker Heights and one complete year recently celebrated
last month at her current location. She helps clients suffering from hair loss due to a wide variety of health issues, including cancer, lupus, alopecia and stress.
Sherman, who served in the Army for eight years, has a knack for assessing which wig will look best on clients within minutes of their stepping through her door.
“When a client comes in, I look at them and see what’s going to look good on them based on their skin tone,” Sherman said. “While we’re talking, I’m already assessing their personality, so I can see how they’re going to pull it off.”
“I don’t want you to just put the wig on, I want you to WEAR the wig,” Sherman said.
Sherman works with care and dedication in order to help individual clients feel their best about how they look before they walk out of the shop. She does more than just place a wig on a client’s head; she painstakingly styles the wig to make it look like the client’s natural hair.
“You can color it and cut it,” Jones said.
Sherman believes in bringing out everyone’s inner D.I.V.A., which she says stands for Divinely Inspired, Vibrant and Anointed.
“I’m here to help them pull that diva back out of them and help them know that while their hair was their glory, their true glory comes from inside and they are beautiful anyway,” said Sherman.
Sherman whole-heartedly embodies the Army value of selfless service, and treats each client and situation with empathy and compassion.
“I think to myself, ‘What if I got that diagnosis and I didn’t have any hair?’ How can I even think about me when I see what they’re going through?” Sherman said. “If I can impress upon the clients that it’s going to be all right, that’s the least I can do.”
Sherman is taking steps to make wigs more attainable, and getting the word out to the community.
“We like to move and shake in the community,” Sherman said. “I’m part of the Look Good, Feel Good Program with the American Cancer Society, and part of the Star program.”
Hair-A-Diva also works with Tricare and the VA to ensure clients are fitted with the best human and customized units.
Sherman has noticed that veterans are seeing their dermatologists and losing more hair while they wait for their wigs. She is talking to the VA and seeing how they can work together to close that gap.
“I’m working with Veterans Affairs to speed up the process,” Sherman said. “You can’t just tell clients, ‘Look, you’re losing your hair, but just wait until we get this figured out.’”
Sherman said that while placing a wig is her favorite part of the job, she also enjoys seeing the look of relief on the faces of the client and family members.
“We provide comfort and privacy. Clients can come in by appointment on Tuesdays and can bring their spouse,” Sherman said. “Their spouse will have a seat on the couch here, and I can visibly see them exhale now because their spouse has a new lease on life.”
It is exactly this sense of relief that brings tears to Jones’ eyes every time she shares her testimonial.
“Dianne gave me my self-esteem back,” said Jones, as tears streamed down her face, her voice choking with emotion. “It’s a wonderful thing that she does, and I want other people to know that this is available.”