Stunning woman forced to tell strangers she ‘doesn’t have cancer’ after shaving head
A stunning woman has been forced to tell strangers she ‘doesn’t have cancer’ after shaving her head.
Zoe Wright, 21, decided to shave her head earlier this year after battling alopecia all her life.
She had spent years desperately trying to hide her baldness before taking the plunge by shaving her entire head.
Zoe is now embracing her new look and despite a whole host of compliments, it has caused some strangers to believe she’s battling cancer.
The Other Art Fair intern doesn’t take offence though and is quick to tell people the real reason behind her baldness.
Zoe, from Harpenden, London, said: “Some people presume I have cancer and start sharing stories with me about their friend or family member that are battling the disease, or have recently made a recovery.
“Once I explain my situation is very different and not life-threatening, they often speak of the bravery it takes for someone to shave off their hair which is kind.
“I actually don’t mind people asking me if it’s cancer or not as I like to spread awareness of alopecia because many people are unaware of how bad it can be.
“I was petrified when I first decided to shave it but I felt I had no other option at the time as the hair loss had become so extensive; I couldn’t cover my hair loss patches any other way.
“I felt the only way to gain power over this uncontrollable condition was to take control of it so I like to say to myself that it’s my choice, I’m shaving it.”
Prior to shaving her head, Zoe was worried she would look ‘ugly and unattractive’ but as months has past she has found a newfound confidence.
She added: “I love having a shaved head now – it’s so liberating!
“The simple, generic things like not having to plan when to wash my hair, not buying shampoo, and not having to pay for overpriced hairdressers is great.
“A woman actually stopped me on the tube the other day to pay me a compliment, which was nice, and others have said they love what I’ve done with my hair and wish they were brave enough to do it themselves.”
Whilst Zoe is believed to have shown signs of alopecia at the young age of two, it wasn’t until she was 14 that she had to start taking more drastic measures to cover the bald patches as they got bigger and more noticeable.
She said: “When I was in primary school, one boy shouted in front of the whole classroom, “Haha Zoe, you have a bald patch!” – I cried for ages about that, I was mortified.
“Luckily when I went to high school I wasn’t bullied about it; appearances are a dominant cause of bullying in schools so I was lucky, especially as I had been so insecure about it for so long.”
Zoe’s mum, Lois, 52, has even set up a support group (in association with Alopecia UK) in Newcastle for children and young people with the condition.
She added: “My Mum always picks discrete venues in case people don’t want to be seen in large crowded places”
“She will sometimes do fun things like hire a steel drumming instructor for the kids to do whilst the parents chat about the nitty gritty things – a family friend of ours who is a Dermatologist has come along once to answer any questions people may have too.”
Zoe also said her friendship group have played a vital role in making her realise that appearances aren’t everything as it’s easy to get caught up in the aftermath of alopecia.
“Emotionally, it’s affected my life so much with so many ups and downs because it’s so unpredictable.
“I always used to relate it to illness, even though I’m not actually ill, so obviously I wasn’t going to think positively about it .
“More recently, with the support I’ve received from shaving my head, it’s affected me in the best way possible.”
Since her move to London from Newcastle, Zoe has felt less self conscious with people being a lot more accepting and diverse – rather than people presuming it’s an illness, people have come up complimenting her thinking it’s a fashion choice.
With alopecia being so unpredictable Zoe’s hair could grow back at any point, or not at all.
She said, “Even if it was to grow back tomorrow, I’d still keep it shaven because I’ve grown to love it and find it so liberating.
“I want to be a help to others with alopecia, as I wish I had someone to look up to when I was a teenager struggling with it – I’ve even had a friend of a friend “come out” and tell the world about her battle with alopecia because of me.”