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Model with alopecia opens up on struggle with her appearance


Model with alopecia opens up on struggle with her appearance

The sixty-year-old has spoken out following the attention turned to alopecia following the Will Smith Oscars incident.

When London local Sea Flau, 60, was diagnosed with alopecia in 2002, she was left “mentally and spiritually bankrupt”. After struggling with her appearance for over 20 years, she now works as a mature model to inspire women like her to be proud of the way they look.

Sea was first diagnosed with alopecia in 2002 and explains that her confidence was shattered by the condition.

“A black person’s hair is so different to a white person’s – especially black women. We value our hair so much and experience so much judgement, so when my hair started to fall out I was mentally and spiritually bankrupt. It started with a small bald patch on the side of my head and over the next few years I noticed more and more. I lost all confidence in myself and I stopped going out. When I did leave the house I’d make sure I was wearing a hat”.

Despite dealing with the condition for 20 years, Sea explains that she is still affected to this day, but loves working in modelling to set an example for young black women struggling with their appearance

“I don’t think you ever get over something like alopecia. Every day I wake up and I’m scared it’s come back even worse. You have to come to terms with it – I keep my hair very short now and I accept my situation. I love what I do, I think it’s important to show people that they can love themselves and feel comfortable in their skin. There are less opportunities available for mature models but I am doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing and not letting anything hold me back. I believe that in this inclusive modern world there is a place for me as a mature model”.

After watching the Oscars, Sea was particularly affected by Chris Rock’s comments on Jada Smith’s hair, and Will Smith’s violent reaction.

“I honestly don’t think Chris even knew Jada has alopecia. He’s a strong advocate for black hair and made a powerful documentary on it, but there’s good and bad taste when it comes to jokes. You can make fun of someone’s behaviour all you want but I think it’s in poor taste to mock their appearance. Regardless, violence is never the answer. Will could have called out Chris when he accepted his award later and would have been the hero of the night. Instead, I think Chris should be given the Oscar for acting with dignity”.

Like Jada, Sea wants to teach young black women struggling with their hair how to be comfortable in their own bodies.

“Being 60, black and foreign has taught me to accept lots of things that I took for granted when I was younger. You never think your looks will go. Today I see the importance of loving yourself. It took a long time, but I love my hair and I am very comfortable in myself”.

Sea Flau was born in Rio De Janeiro in 1962, living in the poorest part of the city with her parents, 5 natural siblings and 2 adopted siblings. After moving to England with her husband 26 years ago, she now works as a mature model campaigning for inclusivity in the modelling industry.

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