Meet Nat, Basingstoke's Novice Strongwoman.
Octavia has struggled with alopecia since she was 12. In her early adult years, she would always try to hide it, not being seen out of the house without a wig or hat. By being active Octavia was able to shift her focus and grow comfortable not covering her head.
I’ve had alopecia since I was 12. My hair came and went up until the age of 16 when it all fell out. At 16 I started wearing a wig. As I got older, I went through stages of my hair coming and going again.
I always used to wear wigs all the time. I had all sorts of different styles and colours but at the end of the night my hair would come off. Around my friends, in the privacy of my home, I was confident. But I would rarely go out in public without a wig or hat on.
The only time I would go without a wig was on holiday, when it was too hot and uncomfortable to wear one, or at the gym. Even just popping to Tesco, down the road, I would put a hat on.
As I started teaching Pilates more, I spent more time not wearing a wig. It became normal. It became part of my identity.
At the gym, I would go into the changing rooms, take off my wig and go to the treadmill. I would feel self-conscious for a moment, but once I started running, I was focused on that. It was awkward but I could just about cope with it. It was a process of getting through those first uncomfortable minutes and then I would be fine.
Not wearing a wig at all really started when I first became a Pilates instructor. I tried to do a training course wearing a wig and it just wasn’t doable. Every time I laid down, I was worried my wig would come off. It just didn’t feel right.
As I started teaching Pilates more, I spent more time not wearing a wig. It became normal. It became part of my identity to be an instructor and as an instructor, I didn’t wear a wig. As I was building a business it became a larger part of my life so more of my life was without a wig on.
Its been so liberating taking the wig off and confidently going about my everyday life. Wigs have always been a bit of a faff. Sports are a big part of my life and alopecia wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I love.