Straight men have played gay characters and women have lost weight and put it on to score roles in upcoming films, but we often hear of how women struggle to say goodbye to their locks. Julie Walters recently revealed how she hated having to shave her head to play a bald politician in Channel 4’s drama Mo.
Walters took on the role of Mo Mowlam, the Labour MP who was in charge of bringing peace to Northern Ireland and died of a brain tumour in 2005. Walters had to shave her head and then wear wigs to show the different stages of the character’s hair loss.
“I started with a bald cap. I didn’t have my glasses on, but I could see the line cap. So I just said, ”This is dreadful, we can’t do it like this – what if I shave my head?’ I think they were waiting for me to come to the conclusion myself, because it’s a lot to ask someone. I wasn’t completely bald so I looked very, very weird. They wanted to keep hair at the sides for the wigs, so I was bald on the top, had white hair round the side and brown at the back. I looked like a badger!” she said.
“I didn’t mind when I was at work, but as soon as I’d get home I didn’t want the family to see me. I hated it.”
Hair loss in women affects about 40% of the population and although it sometimes minimal and reversible, it can be of a more permanent nature and is a particularly trying experience for any women no matter the degree of damage.
Individualised hair loss treatment combinations that are prescribed and monitored by specialists often provide the best opportunity for hair regrowth in most situations. However, Mowlam’s hair loss was the result of an intensive course of radiotherapy that was hoped to treat her brain tumour.
Hair loss caused by cancer treatments normally grows back by itself after the therapy is over, but as the film reveals, Mowlam knew her treatment wouldn’t ever be finished.
The politician told both the press and Tony Blair that her tumour was both benign and highly treatable, however as the film reveals, Mowlam was told that her tumour was malignant on the day of her diagnosis.
The Guardian recently reported that Clare Short, who was both a friend of Mo’s and who also had a relationship with her husband Jon Norton after her death, said she thinks the film is “incredibly accurate”, and that it will shock people.
However, there is one thing that Short, who met Mowlam in 1987, thinks the drama series doesn’t reveal.
“She was beautiful: incredibly striking. That’s the only thing the film doesn’t show. She was slightly wild then, no question; she was quite sex and drugs and rock’n’roll,” she said. “But she was also a very pragmatic politician, and a great fan of New Labour and of Tony and all that.”
Contact the Belgravia Centre to arrange a free consultation on 020 7730 6666 or send a message to find out more about hair loss and what can be done in each situation. If you can’t make it to the London centre, an online consultation may prove to be more convenient for you. Simply fill in the form and a medically-trained hair loss specialist will contact you shortly with the results and recommendations.
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