By Josh Saunders
A teenager who hid her alopecia for nine years is finally embracing her condition by revealing bald spots in modelling shots.
Corinne Labbé, 19, from Montreal, Canada, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease at ten-years-old and within a month was completely bald.
Doctors said her hair would ‘never grow back’, leading her to hide beneath a wig and never discuss her alopecia with friends.
Because she was bald, she feared people would think she was ugly or look like an alien.
Even when her hair miraculously started to regrow two years later, baffling doctors, she continued to hide her secret by styling her thinner hair to hide hairless areas.
She never told anyone about her condition, until five months ago, when she started embracing her bald patches by showing them off in modelling shots that she shared online.
Now she hopes to empower others with the condition which affects 1% of the world’s population.
Corinne, an aspiring model, said: “A month after being told I had alopecia, I was completely bald and was told by doctors that my hair would never grow back.
“I really struggled to accept what was happening at first, I became a bit of an introvert because of it and never told my friends.
“I didn’t want to be judged because I had alopecia and feared what people would say.
“I missed a week of school because I refused to leave the house before I had a wig. I was pretty depressed, it was like a massive part of what made me a female was gone.
“I was so afraid to talk about my condition because I was just a kid and I thought people wouldn’t love me if they knew I was different.
“So I hid my alopecia from everyone for nine years, I wore wigs and later developed clever skills to hide my bald spots when my hair started to grow back.
“I lied to so many people around me, even my close friends, they never knew that I had alopecia.
“I didn’t want people to look at me different like I was an alien or sick, I didn’t want their pity.
“After my hair started to regrow, I still had areas on my head without hair that would come and go.
“I still have bald spots now, they can be as small as a coin but other times they can be large like a side plate.
“But now that I’m older I’ve realised having alopecia makes you unique not ugly and once you explain to people about the condition they are very understanding.
“I’m embracing alopecia now and I hope that proudly showing my bald spots while modelling will help to educate and empower others with the condition.”
Corinne started wearing wigs to hide her scalp and tried numerous treatments but nothing worked.
Until, astonishingly her hair started growing back, seven years ago.
Corinne said: “When I was diagnosed with alopecia and doctors looked at my scalp, they told me there weren’t any hair follicles left.
“But progressively my hair grew back, it was a miracle and doctors can’t fully explain how it was possible, they have no reason why it grew back.
“I continued to wear wigs for another year, because at first it was weak and thin.”
Despite her hair growing back, Corinne develops bald spots that can be as large as side plates and now is proudly showing them off.
She hopes her courage to model, after being signed by Dulcedo Management, showing her condition will encourage others to have conversations about alopecia.
She represents Models of Diversity – a charity that aims to showcase figures not traditionally shown in the media.
Corinne said: “I used to be shy and introverted because of my alopecia, but since growing up I know I don’t want to be that person and I’m not ashamed of it any more.
“We need to start talking about the condition as it shouldn’t be a taboo topic, it’s important and that’s what I’m hoping to achieve with my modelling.
“I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did, I want children with alopecia to feel beautiful and worthwhile.”
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