Over the course of the last month and a half, dancer and actor Angela Trimbur has debuted six new hairstyles on Instagram. The shared aesthetic journey has taken the 37-year-old from long brunette to ashy blonde, a peroxide chop to a baby blue iteration, and all in the span of time it typically takes to prepare for a single high-impact haircut.
And though the breakneck makeovers alone would likely have inspired a community of encouraging followers, the impetus behind Trimbur’s shifts is the real source of her burgeoning social community: Trimbur was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, she underwent a double mastectomy in August, she’s gearing up to begin chemotherapy next week, and she’s documenting each step with a refreshing blend of candor and vulnerability.
“If I’m on the way to losing it all, I might as well make the most of all the different stages,” says the actor of the length-level sojourns. “It’s been helping me jump over these little fear hurdles.” As the founder and captain of the ever-irreverent (and empowering) L.A. City Municipal Dance Squad, Trimbur is no stranger to spirit—or a want of camaraderie. And that advocacy for genuine connection is coming back to bolster her now. Friends have showed up with everything from time to photographs to pre-surgery ceremonies to medically targeted magic mushrooms; Instagram followers share messages of support and thanks, some who’ve dealt with similar diagnoses adding that they wish they had been as vocal throughout; and Los Angeles–based hairstylists Bianca Hillier of Andy Lecompte Salon and Sal Salcedo of Nova Arts Salon have teamed to take Trimbur through each mane moment.
“When I decided to do this, a friend sat down with me and we did a Pinterest page of the different looks—even chemo looks,” says Trimbur who, though ready for the prospect of losing her hair, says she has techniques to keep her power brows in place. “I’m curious about what it’s like to walk around completely bald. I feel like most people wear the wig or cover their head to avoid making others uncomfortable. So maybe now’s the time not to do that.”
Aside from the novelty of sampling various hairs, documenting each look allows Trimbur to track the timeline of her treatment. “I remember what I learned, or what I was told by my medical teams at that time, the appointments, the nurses. Instead of it being a blur, I can kind of bookmark it with my hair.” An Audrey Tautou–inspired brunette pixie followed by a buzz cut, bleached—“so when it falls out, I won’t notice it as much,” she says—will mark a still point in Trimbur’s chameleonic undertaking, but the community she’s built on- and offline is here to stay. “I feel safe and supported,” she says. “It’s a hard lesson to ask for help and let people know you’re feeling vulnerable. But it’s kind of nice to have to ask for it and see how easy it is to receive it.”