Belfast Telegraph

Gail Porter: I like sporting a bald head now

She spoke after former chat show host Ricki Lake revealed she had been struggling with hair loss for years.

Gail Porter chooses to embrace her hair loss (Ian West/PA)
Gail Porter chooses to embrace her hair loss (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Gail Porter says she is happy to have no hair now.

The former model, 48, lost her hair suddenly, first in 2005, before it grew back, and then again in 2010.

She spoke after ex-chat show host Ricki Lake revealed she had been struggling with hair loss for years and that at times it has made her feel suicidal.

Porter, who sports a bald head and eschews a wig, told BBC Breakfast: “I think I’ve been very fortunate.

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Liberated and Free, Me. First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering. Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years. AND I am finally ready to share my secret. Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes….. I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life. It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth. I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in. Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. :( In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair. I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable. I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening. To read more: please go to my Facebook page. ❤️

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“I quite like the fact I don’t have hair now. Obviously when it first happened it was very shocking.

“Now I just embrace it. I  can understand people who lose hair and find it very upsetting. Now I think, it is what it is. I don’t really worry about anything.”

She said: “I still get abuse in the street every now and again, not too often but I can take it. It’s a weird thing to happen but I just get on with it.”

Porter initially looked into treatments but found nothing worked and so decided to “embrace this”.

The “amount of women who come up to me and say, ‘You know what, this is a wig’ or ‘Underneath this hat I don’t have any hair,'” she said.

Former talk show host Lake said her hair was never the same after being “triple-processed and teased” every couple of weeks when she played Tracy in Hairspray in 1988.

PA

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