‘Barry’ Star Anthony Carrigan Was Told to Quit Acting Over Alopecia: ‘You’re Not Attractive Anymore’

"I'm one of those people that if you told me that I can't do something, I will," the "Barry" star said.
Anthony Carrigan arrives at the 25th annual Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Anthony Carrigan
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Season 3 of “Barry” has proven to be a massive hit for HBO, earning rave reviews and recently scoring a renewal for Season 4. One of the season’s most popular characters is NoHo Hank, a lovable gay Chechen mobster played by Anthony Carrigan.

Carrigan has alopecia, a disease that causes severe hair loss. And in a new interview with People, the “Barry” star opened up about his struggles with the condition and the way it impacted his acting career.

“There was a moment where my alopecia had progressed so much so that I had lost pretty much half [of] my scalp, both my eyebrows [and] all my eyelashes,” he said. “It really threw everyone that I was working with, and no one knew what to do with me.”

While Carrigan is not the only Hollywood star with alopecia (Jada Pinkett Smith notably has the condition as well), his appearance proved to be an obstacle early in his career.

“I was told by a number of people, you’re not going to be able to do this. You’re not attractive anymore. You will fail if you try to do this,” he said. “And I’m one of those people that if you told me that I can’t do something, I will. Period.”

That led Carrigan to stop attempting to hide his hair loss and begin the process of auditioning for roles as a hairless man.

“It was a series of baby steps to accept [it],” he said. “Talking about it was very therapeutic for me. And even talking about it now, I’m strangely very grateful for this experience and how much it taught me about radical self-acceptance.”

Ultimately, Carrigan believes that his decision to embrace his alopecia has improved his performances as an actor.

“It made me a better actor too, because I wasn’t hiding anymore,” he said. “I wasn’t hiding under wigs, or makeup, or this projected self confidence, and instead what was replaced was real confidence.”

It certainly seems to be working out for Carrigan, who picked up an Emmy nomination for “Barry” in 2019 and is likely to be in the mix for another nod this year. And the actor has no regrets about the path he took to get there.

“We’re told, you know, accept yourself, be who you are,” he said. “But we’re also in a society that’s constantly telling us to change. And my take on it is: you want to feel good about yourself, and that has very little to do with what you look like. It has everything to do with expressing who you are.”

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