A Snug Fit

An Emmy-nominated soap star turned her harrowing experience with her hair into a business to help transgender women.

BY Louis Virtel

October 23 2007 11:00 PM ET

Wig industry
maven Amy Gibson relates to her transgender clientele -- and
not just because they provide incredible income. Skeptics
can rest assured her sympathy is rooted in
commiseration, not marketing.

“I really
feel what they go through, being stuck in the wrong
body,” says the Emmy-nominated Gibson, who
played runaway alcoholic Lynn Henderson on the
long-running soap Love of Life. “I really
get it.”

As a teenager,
she was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune
disease that eventually fried her hair follicles, leaving
her bald. Years later she parlayed her own journey of
hair loss into a growing business. In March 2006 she
launched Crown and Glory Enterprises, a Los Angeles
boutique that produces high-end, customized wigs as well
as international luxury line called Amy’s
Presence.

For her new
venture, Gibson is extending a hand, or rather a few cap
sizes, to trans women.

“It’s important for them to understand that
getting the right wig could be the answer to a lot of
discomfort,” Gibson says. “It truly is the
finishing touch.”

Her interest in
the trans market ignited when she started hearing
complaints that wig boutiques offered nothing feminine and
durable in the range of larger cap sizes. With
Amy’s Presence, she now provides larger sizes
(24 and 25) in up to eight different styles, with costs
ranging from $1,600 to $2,500 per wig. The hairpieces
also feature Cyber Hair, a revolutionary velvety
material that when tousled remolds to its original
form within 15 minutes. For the choosier athletic customer,
a swim cap version is available that performs well in
water.

“I
don’t want to call it a wig,” says Stacy
Alexeief, a 52-year-old Long Beach, Calif., resident.
“A wig almost connotes something that’s
artificial. There’s a lightness and flow to [the
hairpieces] that’s beyond human hair.”

Alexeief, a
transgender woman who owns three Amy’s Presence wigs,
sought Gibson’s services after seeing her and
her products on an episode of The Tyra Banks Show.
The occasion seemed serendipitous to Alexeief,
who’d just gone bald.

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