She may be an ambassador for Alopecia awareness across the UK and abroad, but TV presenter Gail Porter has admitted she puts on a “brave face” much of the time. Since fronting children’s TV shows in the early 1990s, Porter has rarely been out of the public eye, appearing on reality TV shows and famously marrying (then divorcing) musician Dan Hipgrave.
The 43-year-old Edinburgh-born presenter is bi-polar and was diagnosed with Alopecia Totalis after the break-up of her relationship in 2005. It’s not known what causes alopecia, but it is categorised as an auto-immune condition, which can be triggered by extreme stress. Whilst her hair did begin to grow back, today she is totally bald and much of the time she refuses to wear wig, outwardly embracing her baldness.
However, she admits that “the worst thing baldness causes is loneliness” and that she has never fully embraced her hair loss: Alopecia has caused her emotional heartache and left her fearful of dating.
Today, Porter lives alone in her flat and sees her 12-year-old daughter Honey at weekends. She infuses her life with her trademark black humour and still struggles with her bi-polar disorder, which has worsened since the loss of Porter’s mother to cancer in 2009.
Porter never planned for showbiz fame – her career aspirations always lay behind the scenes, in film editing. Whilst babysitting for a TV producer, she auditioned for an ITV show, and was offered the job; further jobs followed and her career blossomed. After her hair fell out in 2005, she outwardly made light of her condition, turning her struggles inwards.
She reveals her fears about dating, saying, “I watched this TV dating show recently and a young guy was asked his worst dating fear, and he said ‘If I was matched with a woman and she had no hair‘”.
Porter is currently working on writing her autobiography, which will be filled with stories from her life – like the time she sang with John Travolta. Porter may find life difficult at times, but she remains a positive role model for anyone who is similarly affected by Alopecia. You can see her on stage at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow in the production of ‘Whingeing Women’ from 9th to 11th October 2014.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.
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