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    Woman, 25, who lost her hair at 17 ditches her wig to become a model 

    Woman, 25, who lost her hair at the age of 17 ditches her wig to become a model

    • Jess Newman lost her hair aged just 17 but she is now embracing her condition
    • She got a wig but Miss Newman was so insecure she wore a beanie hat over it
    • Miss Newman has now abandoned her wig and has applied to become a model  

    When Jess Newman lost her hair at 17, she thought she looked like an alien.

    But during lockdown, eight years later, she bravely posted pictures of her alopecia online – and has now embraced her condition after receiving positive comments.

    She has now abandoned her wig, applied to be a model and even decorates her head in bright colours.

    She said of her Instagram snaps: ‘I felt braver because I wasn’t going out and having to see people.

    When Jess Newman lost her hair at 17, she thought she looked like an alien. But during lockdown, eight years later, she bravely posted pictures of her alopecia online – and has now embraced her condition after receiving positive comments

    ‘I was nervous before pressing upload but I had some lovely comments. I spoke to other girls with alopecia and we now have a WhatsApp group.’

    Doctors first blamed puberty when Miss Newman, 25, started losing her eyebrows at 15. But the hair loss sped up when she met her father, who split from her mother when she was a baby, for the first time in six years.

    Doctors first blamed puberty when Miss Newman, 25, started losing her eyebrows at 15. But the hair loss sped up when she met her father, who split from her mother when she was a baby, for the first time in six years. She is pictured before her hair loss

    Doctors first blamed puberty when Miss Newman, 25, started losing her eyebrows at 15. But the hair loss sped up when she met her father, who split from her mother when she was a baby, for the first time in six years. She is pictured before her hair loss

    Miss Newman, of Colchester, Essex, went to a dermatologist who diagnosed alopecia areata, a condition where hair stops growing as immune cells attack follicles.

    She followed advice to shave her head and get a wig but was so insecure she wore a beanie hat over it – and tattooed on eyebrows.

    She skipped classes at college, didn’t socialise, and ‘cried before every shift’ at a restaurant where she was a waitress.

    Miss Newman, who has an older brother and sister, said the support of mother Linda, 59, a financial administrator, and stepfather Richard Watsham, a 53-year-old fencing firm owner, helped her cope. 

    But just close friends were told of her condition – and only when she reached 20. 

    ‘Everyone was really nice about it but I thought I was ugly and looked like an alien,’ she said.

    But last month she was asked by Alopecia UK to be one of their 15th birthday ‘champions’, which meant going out without her wig and sharing snaps. 

    Her new outlook has also encouraged her to apply to be a model for the Models of Diversity charity.

    She followed advice to shave her head and get a wig but was so insecure she wore a beanie hat over it – and tattooed on eyebrows. She is pictured above in her wig

    She followed advice to shave her head and get a wig but was so insecure she wore a beanie hat over it – and tattooed on eyebrows. She is pictured above in her wig

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