Made In Chelsea’s Olivia Bentley has said a boyfriend once told her he would not have children with her because she was bald due to alopecia.
The reality TV star, who was 16 when her hair first started falling out, said dating in her younger years was difficult because of the ways she tried to mask her hair loss.
Bentley, now 24, told Cosmopolitan magazine: “As a teenager, I’d always been self-conscious that I looked like a boy, and having these problems with my hair has compounded that.
“I would try all sorts of things to make sure no-one knew what was happening. I’d pull the rest of my hair over the bald spot and wear hats.
“Then I tried clip-in hair extensions, which is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it can over-stress the hair. Now I often wear wigs and keep it short.”
She added that she was “always afraid of someone spotting it”, and that “dating was tough”.
“I was so worried that boys would run their fingers through my hair and feel it, or get caught on the extensions,” she said.
“A boyfriend once said ‘I’m not going to have kids with you because you’re bald.’
“Now I’m older I’d have told him what a prick he was, but back then I was so insecure.”
Bentley’s hair loss started at the same time as she was prescribed the combined oral contraceptive pill aged 16, damaging her confidence and prompting feelings of insecurity.
Years after developing the condition, she said she is feeling more confident and empowered, and that she tells people if she is wearing a wig and jokes about it.
Bentley said: “Stress can worsen alopecia, but sharing with others makes me feel more empowered.
“As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that I’m much more aware of it than other people … I just want others with the condition to feel more confident – a lack of hair does not define you. It’s so much more common than people think.”
Bentley, who joined the E4 programme in its 11th series, opened up about her battle with alopecia earlier this year.
Alopecia is the general medical term for hair loss, which can happen to a person at any time for a number of reasons and can cause psychological distress.
Made In Chelsea airs on Mondays at 9pm on E4.