Tolulope Ogunbodede: ‘I am not my hair. With or without my hair, I am still me.’

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After being called a “witch” because of her hair loss, textile designer, Tolulope Jasmine Ogunbodede started a foundation to help raise awareness about Alopecia and to show love to every ‘Alopecian’. 

Alopecia is a medical condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, sometimes unnoticeable.

Tolulope says she has been ridiculed since she realised her hair started falling out.

“People have called me names. Some say I am a witch, that’s why I don’t have hair. I don’t like people seeing me cry, so I just lock myself up in a room and cry. When I’m done crying, I wipe my face and continue with my life.”

Her hair started falling out 15 years ago at university. 

“I don’t like wearing wigs all the time because the wigs feel like a burden but because I don’t like to be looked at in a funny way, I like to wear my wig when I go out. But anytime I’m in my house, I do everything with the wig off.”

Tolulope says it affected her mental health but she did her research.

“It was when I heard some painful stories of how they stigmatise people with alopecia, I decided to be the source of strength for others to look up to. So I started the Heroic Alopecia Foundation.”

Tolulope started her foundation to educate people about Alopecia. Now with other women who are living with Alopecia, they want people to stop stigmatising and show love to every alopecian.

“We have to let people know that there are no supernatural forces behind hair loss. Dermatologist, Dr. Shakirat Gold-Olufadi added. It’s a medical condition and people should not be stigmatised for that.”

“Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I tell myself that I am beautiful, I am bold, I am me and nobody else,” Tolulope says. “I am not my hair. With or without my hair, I am still me.”

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