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Hi. Are there any celebrities who have psoriasis? Do you know of any actors or musicians with P? How about athletes or just other famous people? Isn’t there anyone on TV who has psoriasis? -Casey
Ed’s Response: Both you and I would be surprised to learn there AREN’T any celebrities with P. Novelist John Updike has it and has written about it (check out the February, 2002, Briefing). A few years ago there was some noise about the National Psoriasis Foundation trying to find a flaker-celebrity to be a figurehead for public awareness. Whether or not they had anything to do with it, Jerry Mathers spent a few months in 2002-2003 talking-up his psoriasis for one of the biologic manufacturers. If you’re 45 or older, or happen to really enjoy old 50’s TV sitcoms, you may remember Jerry Mathers as “the Beav” in Leave It to Beaver. He was the celebrity presence at the Foundation’s annual meeting in Orlando in 2002.
I believe the fact that we don’t see more celebrities talking about their psoriasis is because they experience the same stigma the rest of us do. Since P isn’t usually debilitating, very few people seek to understand it who don’t have it, so “coming out” with it isn’t the kind of confession that rates you particularly heroic or tragic — not like being a cancer survivor, for example. If you are a celebrity with P, that probably means you’ve managed to either hide or otherwise “make small” the impact of P on your life and work. You might not be able to say, convincingly, “P has been a hardship for me.”
Perhaps what we need is not a celebrity with psoriasis, but a celebrity with a husband, wife, parent or child with psoriasis. Some of the most eloquent stories and testimonials I have heard about the impact of P have come from mothers of children who flake.We must just keep looking! -Ed