Teen model Tiahna Faraci’s dream runway in disarray after battle with alopecia
A teenager who dreamed of becoming a model has revealed the horror she faced when her long locks started falling out due to a mysterious illness.
Tiahna Faraci was just 15 when she noticed a bald spot the size of a 50c piece on the front of her scalp.
Within a few months, bald patches had spread over his head and large clumps were constantly falling out.
“Later on the track, it was all over the sheets, on your pillow,” she told The Project.
“I was losing like a dog.”
Tiahna Faraci (pictured) was just 15 when she noticed a bald spot the size of a 50c piece on the front of her scalp
Within months, all of Tiahna’s (pictured) hair started falling out
His mother Rosanna Faraci, an accomplished model and photographer, single mother of two daughters, could only watch in anguish.
“It was a really dark time,” Rosanna said.
“She (Tiahna) just closed. She didn’t believe she was lovable and it really broke my heart because without hair you’re still very lovable.
Tiahna was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles.
At first, it seemed confined to Tiahna’s head, but quickly spread to the rest of her body, even her eyebrows and eyelashes falling out.
“I didn’t even want to leave the house,” she said.
“I thought I was like the ugliest thing on this Earth. You really learn how low your self-esteem can go.
Rosanna spent thousands of dollars on treatments for her daughter, but to no avail.
At one point, Tiahna was receiving around 100 cortisone injections into her scalp each month.
“It was torture and every morning and every night she was crying. Her mind just collapsed,” Rosanna said.
In December, Tiahna finally decided to shave what was left of her hair and found it to be a liberating experience.
“It was very empowering,” Tiahna said.
“That’s when I knew I was going to be okay.
“I just had a giant smile on my face. I was happy. When I looked in the mirror, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t look too bad with a shaved head.
In March, Tiahna even showed off her new look on the Melbourne Fashion Festival catwalk.
Tiahna is pictured on the runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival
Tiahna was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles
Tiahna finally made the decision to shave what was left of her hair and found it to be a liberating experience (pictured are Rosanna and Tiahna)
“I was really nervous at the start, but when you get on the podium you get a lot of adrenaline,” Tiahna said.
“I felt really famous.”
Proud mom Rosanna looked on.
“Just seeing what she went through in the last year and seeing her smile again was everything,” she said.
Tiahna now alternates between looking bald and wearing a wig, which children’s charity Variety Australia helped secure.
“I just like to wear a wig, so people don’t stare at me all the time,” Tiahna said.
She still hopes to get her hair back and tries medication to achieve this.
“Alopecia is ups and downs,” she says.
“Being a teenager, I want my hair back.
‘Put it up in a bun, without having to worry about putting on a wig.
“I’m still learning to love myself again.”
What is alopecia?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, often in patches that become more noticeable over time.
The immune system defends the body against unwanted bacteria or viruses. In cases of alopecia areata, the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, which are the structures that allow hair to grow.
Researchers do not know the exact cause of this disease and there is currently no cure.
However, some medications claim to help stimulate hair growth.
Steroid injections, oral treatments, laser therapy and creams, and special diets are common treatment options.