After the COVID-19 pandemic forced hairstylist Erika Lloyd to shut her salon on March 13, the single mum gamely tried to stay productive while quarantining with her son at their apartment in Walnut Creek, California. She made Instagram videos – on colouring hair, applying spray tan – for her clients, took an online class on hair extensions and started selling cosmetics for commission. “Erika was trying to hustle to make it work,” tells her best friend, Rebecca Malone, 37.
But by June, the accumulated stress of 2020 – unemployment for her, homeschooling for her son, protests and violence in the streets – took a toll on Lloyd, 37, that was obvious when Malone stopped over on June 10.
“Something seemed off, so I was like, ‘This is a wellness check,’” recalls Malone. “We sat with a glass of wine commiserating, like, wow these are crazy times.” When Malone phoned four days later, Lloyd said she needed a mental health break. “She told me, ‘I’m going to be fine,’” says Malone. “That’s the last time I spoke to her.”
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October 19, 2020