Corinne Labbé – Teen with Alopecia who Embraces her Bald Spots in Modelling Shots

Corinne Labbe

Corinne Labbé/Caters News Agency

When I decided to launch Her Hive, my aim was to start the HH Talks series and feature body positive women who made peace with their inner critics and embraced their perfect imperfections.

Today I’m really pleased to introduce you to Corrine Labbé, a teenage model from Montreal, Canada who was diagnosed with alopecia at 10 years old. Within a month of her diagnosis she went completely bald and refused to tell anyone about her condition. 9 years later, Corinne made a decision to embrace her bold spots in modelling shots as she wants to pursue her dream career and empower others affected by the condition.

Do you remember the day when you were diagnosed with alopecia? What did you think? 
Yes I do remember that day, I think I will remember it forever. I was ten years old back then. I was at a child hospital with my mom and I remember that I couldn’t believe it at first. They told me my hair would never grow back. I was shocked. I couldn’t think about anything and I didn’t show any emotions during the day. Back home, I felt like my life would never be the same again. I was so depressed I cried for hours. I thought that I lost my feminity.
Corinne Labbe

Corinne Labbé/Caters News Agency

How did alopecia affect you while you were growing up? Did your peers treat you differently because of your condition?
I was so ashamed to be different that I wouldn’t tell anyone about my condition. I lied even to my closest friends. I couldn’t admit that this was happening to me. I felt like it was unfair and I couldn’t do anything to change this particular condition. Even if I was lying to everyone, I knew the other kids were suspecting that something was wrong about me. Many were gossiping about me. Sometimes behind my back and sometimes out loud, even though they knew I could hear them. Their comments were so mean and I felt even more like the kid who doesn’t “fit in”. I felt like no one could ever love me for who I am because I was different. I was thinking that my disease was making me ugly.
Why did you decide to take up modelling? How did you feel during your first photoshoot? 

Modelling has always been my dream. I used to look at these beautiful girls in magazines and cry for hours because I would never be like them because of my condition. As growing up, I realized that everything that I was thinking about me wasn’t true. I’m not ugly or not worth it because I got some hair missing. I can’t let my hair define me. So almost a year ago, I decided to take a chance by sending some pictures to a modeling agency I’ve always dreamed to be in. They called me back and I signed with them a few months later. On my first photoshoot, I felt shy at first because it was the first time I let anyone take photos of my condition. The other girls on set were so comprehensive and it didn’t take so long before I was comfortable. I had not told my friends yet about my first photoshoot. I did a post on instagram related to my story last January and most people learned it that way.

You used to wear wigs as a teenager? Do you still do that? 
I wore wigs for two years. My hair started to grow back after even the doctors said they never would. I developed a lot of skills to hide the patches without hair. These can be as small as a coin or as big as a side plate.
What would you say to other people battling the condition?
I would say to always keep hoping that things will get better eventually and to stay positive. I’m the proof that it can always get better. I would also say to them that they are truly beautiful with or without hair because it’s NOT what is defining them. They are worth so much more and they shouldn’t let this disease affect their life like I did. Alopecia is just a condition. A good heart and a positive personality is so much more important.
Corinne Labbe

Corinne Labbé/Caters News Agency

What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to represent diversity in a new way. I think diversity is not only linked to skin color or weight but to all the differences. I want to make people with my condition feel better, just like Winnie Harlow did with virtiligo. I want to influence this industry in a positive way. I want more people different, like me, to be represented in magazines and runways so people would stop judging them as “not normal”.
 You represent Models with Diversity. Can you tell us more about what you do? 
Basically I’m doing my best to spread my story and ideas about diversity, so people with a disease like mine would stop feeling so alone in this. As example, next week, I’m going to a camp in USA for children with alopecia. I’m so glad to be invited there because it’s so important to me that children with my condition or anything that make them feel different never feel the way I did.