Celebrity pop duo The Cheeky Girls came to fame when they auditioned for ITV’s talent show Popstars in 2002. The twin sisters, from Romania, became known for their successful trash pop such as ‘The Cheeky Song’. But beneath the shiny make-up and hotpants, the singers, Monica and Gabriela, were both suffering from an eating disorder.
The Daily Mail recently revealed that the twins’ weight dropped to under 7 stone, which for a height of 5ft 6 in, is dangerously low. Both women risked hospitalization and suffered kidney stones, stomach ulcers, cessation of menstruation and hair loss.
Their condition has since improved; Monica now weighs 8½ stone and Gabriela is nearly 9 stone. The twins, 26, say the anorexia began in 2002 when they first moved to the UK and became famous. Monica explains, “We had been quietly studying law but suddenly having a hit record meant we were always touring, recording, going to meetings and making personal appearances. Our lives were out of our control.”
Shortly after, in 2003, their record company Telstar went bankrupt, owing them £1.3million. The girls became depressed and their feeling of being out of control heightened. Anorexia is known to be linked to issues with control.
Monica was the first to become obsessed with counting calories. Reducing her food to just 500 calories a day intake while increasing the length of her workouts, Monica lost weight rapidly. Indeed this is one way to bring on Telogen Effluvium, a type of hair loss that is caused by a stressful event, medications, contraceptive pills or rapid weight loss.
According to the World Health Organisation, a woman is underweight if her BMI (body mass index) is less than 18.5. Monica’s was 15 and her body fat a worrying 7% – the normal level is between 25% and 30%. Gabriela’s BMI was 16.4, and her body fat was 9%. Their BMI – calculated using a person’s height and weight – would have been lower still, but the girls’ exercise regime gave them lean muscle, which is heavier than fat.
The girls’ mother eventually noticed and told them they looked too thin. Realising they were being robbed of their lives, the sisters set about improving their diets. Monica explains, “Once I started thinking rationally again, I felt angry with myself that I had tried to destroy my body in such a cruel way. I had wasted three years being obsessed with food.”
Hair loss as a result of yo-yo dieting is not the most serious risk – as the Cheeky Girls have shown, there are serious health implications. However, hair loss in women can have a serious impact on self-esteem and confidence – which for an anorexia sufferer are already vulnerable.
If the rapid weight loss is resolved, then the hair may regrow on its own. For some women, a hair loss treatment programme may help to kick-start the hair growth cycle. Minoxidil has been licensed by the MHRA and ‘FDA-approved’ for the treatment of female hair loss in the UK and USA respectively. In clinical trials, two out of every three women saw results.
There are also a range of hair growth boosters that can be used alongside Minoxidil. For example, Hair Vitalics is a nutritional supplement that can help re-balance the female body and improve the treatment.
For a free consultation with a hair specialist, please contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or message the clinic. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will be in touch.