I got my first bald patch when I was ten. My mum had just died from Lupus – another autoimmune condition

“I got my first bald patch when I was ten. My mum had just died from Lupus – another autoimmune condition – so maybe the shock of losing her shocked my body into another loss. From that time on, I had a receding hairline. I was 23 when I got a job in an advertising agency, it was a very stressful place and probably because of that, my first big patch of hair fell out. That was when I decided to start wearing extensions and a wig every day. I remember coming home from long days and I would grab my wig and throw it down with the same relief most women get from taking off their bra as soon as they close the door behind them. Whatever hair I’d left, I would just put it in a knot and walk around like that. After one of those long days, my boyfriend said that he thought I should stop wearing the wig and shave my head into a mohawk style. At the time I thought he was funny and didn’t even consider it. I would’ve been terrified of even opening the front door without my wig on. But I kept thinking about the freedom it would give me. Thinking about the possibility of not having to wake up an hour earlier every morning just to burn my fingers with the curler and I wouldn’t have to spend the whole day worrying if it’s still in place or what would happen if someone found out. I would’ve never been brave enough to take that step without the big change backpacking around Aisa brought to my life. During the trip, I embraced a new me together with the world. Now, I know that lots of alopecians prefer to wear wigs. And they look amazing… I mean, changing up your look every day with a different hairstyle or colour? How cool is that? But it wasn’t for me. I wanted to say a big ‘Fuck You’ to hair-loss and show that it has turned me from shy, insecure Emma into a bald-headed badass called Lady Alopecia.”

Follow Emma’s journey at ladyalopecia.com