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#TheNewSexy II – Yasmin’s Story

Yasmin Taylor, suffers with Alopecia and wanted to share her message and prove to the world that you can be sexy with or without hair. Read Yasmin’s interview below or to find out more about her and the campaign, click here.

Full Name…

Yasmin Rachel Taylor

Age…

24

Where you’re from/live…

I’m from West Sussex, England but I live in Abu Dhabi.

Tell us about yourself – What’s your Story?

I suffer with Alopecia, which is an autoimmune disorder where my immune system attacks my hair follicles, which makes my hair fall out. I was diagnosed at the age of 15. I lost all my hair just before my 20th birthday, I then started wearing a wig, which I hid behind for 3 years. Since March 2015 I took the wig off – I post pictures on my Instagram account of my hair loss, selfies and quotes – I write things along with what I post. For example my feelings on my hair loss, comments about what people have said to me regarding my hair loss or just my way of how I see things. I get direct messages from people suffering with alopecia – I didn’t realise I was inspiring people / helping others with what I post, so to find out I am really makes me happy. Recently I had an article posted about me on The Daily Mail, The Sun, The British Skin Foundation and other online newspapers/ blogs which is amazing – I’m glad I can help spread the word about Alopecia.

Tell us more about your Alopecia…

Once I got diagnosed I starting having steroid injections into the patches every month for 4 years. It worked and the hair grew back, I was lucky as my hair was naturally very thick and curly so you couldn’t see the patches so at the time it didn’t really affect me. It wasn’t until the age of 19 I decided to go travelling for 5 and half months. I stopped the injections obviously whilst I was travelling, I spoke to my dermatologist before I left and she thought it would be okay – I was also taking steroid tablets to help the hair loss so I continued taking them whilst I was away. Within the first month of my travels I noticed when brushing and washing my hair a lot was coming out. It didn’t upset me I just got on with it – I didn’t want it to ruin my experience. By the time my trip came to an end I could only wear my hair in a low plait. I had left England with 99% of my hair and had come back with around 40%. I got back mid May 2012 and started with the injections again, but my hair was just falling out and there had been no regrowth, we gave the injections 3 months to kick in but they didn’t work this time. In June, just before my 20th birthday I was wearing a wig as near enough all my hair had gone. I found it weird to begin with as I’d gone from having thick, curly hair to straight hair – it was a completely different texture to my natural hair. From the moment I wore the wig that was it; I didn’t let anyone see me without it. Not my boyfriend, not my family or my friends. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I hid behind this wig for 3 years, absolutely miserable, pretending I was happy when I really wasn’t. I’m not a fake person, I’m neither into make-up nor dressing up so for me to wear a wig and pretend it was my hair was really hard for me. I just felt I was living a lie, which I hated. It wasn’t until I went to Australia for a year I decided to take the wig off. I was travelling the East Coast back in March 2015 with a friend and we had booked onto so many different activities which I didn’t want to miss out on, I’d already let alopecia change me for 3 long years and I’d had enough. The first time I took it off was scary yet liberating – I was proud of myself. Of course I got funny looks, stares and comments but I didn’t care, the fact I could do the things I wanted to do like surfing was all I wanted. Ever since I took the wig off my hair has started growing back, which is amazing, it still falls out but it is still growing.

I get a lot of compliments but I also get stares which I don’t really notice anymore – I walk around with a bald patchy head which is unusual, people will stare and make comments especially if they haven’t seen anything like it before, we are humans we are naturally curious – I don’t take it negatively. Since taking the wig off, it has changed me so much as a person, I’m a lot more confident, compassionate and just so much happier. Of course I have the odd day where I’m a bit down about it and would love to have my hair back, but I just think of all the good things in my life and how lucky I am. I mean I’ve only lost my hair – there are A LOT worst things going on in this world so for me to get upset about not having hair anymore is silly to me.

What’s your greatest achievement?

I think my greatest achievement is accepting my alopecia and staying true to myself, which I think is quite hard to do nowadays when we live in a world so obsessed with how we look.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to overcome?

Honestly I guess I’m pretty fortunate to say I haven’t really had anything that hard to overcome.  Nothing really springs to mind apart from my alopecia – so I think I’d have to say the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is probably accepting that I might never have hair again. But honestly to me that is okay – I’m cool with it.

What’s your favourite attribute? (Can be either personality trait or physical appearance).

I think my favourite attribute is that I don’t take myself too seriously.

When do you feel most sexy?

I don’t know if this is weird but I think I feel most sexy when I’m in the gym, it is actually probably when I look my worst – covered in sweat and zero makeup on but I love being in the gym and working out. I just feel good when I’m there.

What, in your opinion, is #TheNewSexy?

Being yourself – no matter what you look like. Be confident – Confidence is SEXY

Why do you think it’s so important that the fashion industry shows diversity?

We live in a world where no one is perfect and I feel a lot of the fashion industry like to pretend we do. Everyone looks different, people have imperfections but this shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing. Just because someone has no hair or a birthmark on their face shouldn’t be made to feel ugly because it’s not what we see in the media. Everyone is striving for ‘perfection’ but no one really knows what this ‘perfection’ should look like. I think it is important to involve different looks in the fashion industry because being different is a GOOD thing. To see more than just one look in the magazines will have a positive impact on people – it will make them feel more united and will help boost peoples self-esteem too. Constantly seeing tall, skinny airbrushed women in magazines isn’t a true representation of what the majority of woman in this world look like. I feel it will help the younger generation too; it will give them a realistic idea of how people look, which is important.

When shopping, if you saw more women who looked like you in a promotion, would you be more inclined to buy?

Yes, possibly as it would give me a better idea of what the product might look like on me.

Do you think the media are finally taking note and representing more people?

Yes I do, but not as much as they should be though.

What advice would you give to your 15 year old self if you knew what you know now?

Be yourself and be confident about it. Don’t follow the crowd, be proud of yourself and don’t let other people’s opinions of you get you down or change you.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling with self-confidence?

Don’t worry about what others think of you, don’t let them stop you from being you. I know it’s easier said than done, but seriously think…where is that going to get you in life? Focus on yourself and love yourself. Life is tough, but so are you, you’re stronger and braver than you think you are. Beauty fades, personality doesn’t, let your personality shine through. Focus on your goals, the only thing you should worry about is being the best possible person you can be, not only will that make you feel better, but it will attract people to you!

To find out more about Alopecia and how you can help to raise awareness visit charity Autoimmune Alopecia Research UK here.

Thanks to Yasmin for taking part in the campaign and our interview. She’s sizzling in the Knockout and Voodoo sets – What a babe! If you want to join the conversation and let us know what you think is the new ‘Sexy’ then Tweet us @DearScantilly using the hashtag #TheNewSexy.

Read the next installment of the campaign with Gemma here.

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