By Liana Jacob
THIS STUNNING British chef was left feeling scared when clumps of her hair fell out to discover she had alopecia until her boyfriend shaved all her hair off and her response was to post her new look on Facebook for the world to judge the results.
In 2016, Cook, Amy Chinnick (22), from South Wales, UK, was at her 22nd birthday party in London when she noticed her fringe thinning. She didn’t think much of it until a few weeks later when she saw bald patches appearing almost all over her head.
Her boyfriend, Ryan, decided to shave it all off as there was hardly any hairs left on her head. Her dad was the first person to buy her a wig.
Amy has alopecia universalis, a condition characterised by the entire loss of hair on the scalp and body. When her hair began falling out, Amy felt insecure and never failed to leave the house without a wig on to avoid questions from strangers.
In September 2017, Amy decided she was sick of hiding from her condition and made the brave decision to post a picture of her hair-free head informing her friends and family what happened. She no longer apologises or hides from her condition with the hope of spreading awareness of alopecia.
“I was twenty-one when my hair started to fall out. I went to London for my birthday with my best friend and noticed my fringe started to thin out,” Amy said.
“I thought nothing of it until the weeks went on and bald patches appeared almost everywhere on my head.
“When the patches started becoming more noticeable certain friends stopped bothering me or asking me to come out/messaging me, I personally think they were embarrassed to be seen with me.
“I’m glad though because I only want people who care in my life and will get me through the hard times as well as the good.
“My boyfriend, who I recently started dating at the time, shaved my head for me as I had almost nothing left. Since the shave nothing has grown back.
“He was brave for me but the night he shaved my head he started to cry for me because he could see how much of a difference hair made to a girl and how much it had an impact on my life at first.
“Sometimes I get jealous of other girls with hair but he always tells me hair is annoying anyway and gets in the way of cuddles – he always has something witty and cute to say.
“I was scared and had no answers from anyone, although I have type one diabetes and am aware of my weak immune system.
“My dad ordered me my first wig, as it was impossible for me to go out not looking like my normal self. I found out who my real friends were it’s like some of them were too engrossed to be around me at the time.
“I was fed up of always hiding it away, so I finally published a Facebook post with my bald head and explained my situation.
“That way everyone would just know and stop asking questions or asking why I have a different hairstyle all the time (changing wigs). I felt amazing doing it like I could just be me.”
Amy used to deal with anxiety about how she looked without her hair and whether her wigs were realistic enough in public.
Despite always being confident in her own skin, Amy insists that being bald brought up more opportunities to embrace her look.
“The hardest part was dealing with the anxiety of wondering if someone knows it’s a wig? Is it going to fall off? What if my dog chews it and I can’t go into work the next morning?” she said.
“I’ve always been confident, but I am more confident as a bald woman. I feel I have more to offer than my looks.
“I feel unique and different; my confidence is not a vain confidence but more being proud of myself and embracing my looks that are not normal in today’s society.
“I feel like I am more confident as a bald woman because I have more to be proud of, more strength and more compassion than before. My journey changed me as a person as well as my looks.
“My friends and family always compliment me and tell me how strong I am and that I’m an inspiration to others.
“This means a lot to me because the main thing to me is showing others you can still have fun and enjoy your life.
“I feel like even though it’s a terrible thing to go through, it has made me stronger and I’m more aware of conditions that could happen to people at any time.
“This is why I have a positive attitude, it could always be worse. When you think about it, it’s just hair. Why let it impact your life when other conditions have more serious effects on you?
“There are plenty of groups on Facebook and influencers to follow on social media that has helped me realise I’m not alone.
“I want to put out the message to always stay positive, look past the norms in society and continue living like the person you are; a proud person.”
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