'Within a year, my entire head of hair was gone': how model Amber Jean Rowan overcame her biggest insecurity
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We all have our insecurities.
We know insecurities can leave us feeling embarrassed, a little bit smaller and they can bring on a whole host of issues that affect our self esteem.
How we overcome them is a different path for everyone, but we have to wonder, how well would we cope with losing our hair?
After all, everyone is OBSESSED with perfect locks.
Now, imagine having to go through loosing your hair at the age of 15.
Model and actress, Amber Jean Rowan has become a kind of hero of our time thanks to her openness and willingness to speak about her alopecia, helping so many who have lost their hair, whether it be in the same way, from chemotherapy, anything at all.
She has even set up an online community called Hair Free, dedicated to highlighting all kinds of causes of hair loss and most importantly, creating a platform to discuss and explore our obsession with hair.
Recalling the moment a friend spotted a patch of her hair missing, Amber says;
"This added to the mix [with teenage insecurities] was quite… challenging, shall we say.
"In the space of a year, after getting a weave, my whole entire head of hair was completely gone.
"I thought modelling and acting wasn't really going to be a career anymore."
It would have been a hard blow for anyone to take and in Amber's case, all she had wanted to do was perform.
Opportunities did indeed come but on a personal level, Amber says she was putting up barriers and "not dealing with emotions."
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She says that her family, friends and acting (the perfect escape from it all) helped her to forget about her hair.
She admits that it's only in the past year, she realised she had accumulated so much knowledge about hair loss. This, plus having so many women asking her for advice led to a lightbulb moment that would soon manifest into Hair Free.
"I've always been interested in hair because I don't have any.
"I envy women with long luscious hair. I've always been interested in hair in itself and through the past year speaking to other women about various hair conditions… I'm so fascinated."
She talks about the differing beauty standards of the world and bodily hair - it's cool to have good eyebrows, long lashes and a thick head of hair, but all hair below that is expected to go.
It's a topic that sparks the discussion and exploration of beauty standards and it's one entirely worth having.
"I've become a bit obsessed with asking everyone about the relationship with their hair."
Since starting Hair Free Amber says;
"I truly feel like I am in a good place right now with my hair loss - it's a journey.
"When you hear other people's stories, it reminds you of your 15-year-old self. For me, it's like ripping off a band aid again and if I can help these women in any way and relate to them, I think sharing these stories makes alopecia or baldness not a taboo thing.
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"It's a normal thing, it's a fine thing. It's not a big deal because what really matters is just inside.
"Overall I've been filled with so much warmth and love throughout the whole thing."
Having the support of others is a theme that keeps reoccurring throughout, something she says "is key" and describes her own "solid group of people" as a "godsend."
"The modelling and acting industry is full of setbacks. You get 10 million 'no's' before you get a yes.
"Especially the modelling industry for example, you enter at such a young age, and you're vulnerable - you don't know yourself as much as you think you know yourself at 15 - you don't. So, it's quite easy to be led down routes that perhaps wouldn't be great for you at that time.
She has learned that pushing away emotions also, is actually a really bad habit to get into, claiming perseverance and belief in yourself is a much healthier and essential element.
"If you have a passion and you believe it, I feel like nothing will stop you because it's all aligned up there for us anyway."
“I stay motivated by sticking to my gut feeling about something. If I feel like a project, or a shoot, or a script is good, or I’m working with good people, I just really try to follow my gut and have good people around me that I can bounce ideas off."
Now at the age of 26, she says;
"I truly feel like I have gotten to a place where I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin genuinely love me just for me.
“I think the one thing to remember is we all have [insecurities]. The most beautiful woman, the most beautiful man walking down the street... I promise you, and I know for a fact that they have some kind of insecurity.
"Take care of yourself, do things that you love. Try to be yourself and try to really love yourself. It's a journey, but we are all different and that makes us beautiful."
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