A pretty student who developed a rare disorder which left her tearing out her hair has now met her dream man – after deciding to go completely BALD.
Kerry Gallagher, 20, began impulsively pulling out large clumps of her glossy brown locks when she was just 10-years-old.
By the time she was 14, she had ripped out nearly all her hair because of the daily abuse she received at the hands of cruel school bullies.
Kerry suffers from trichotillomania – a rare condition that means she feels an intense urge to pull out her hair.
Last year, the University of Leicester student decided to shave her head to stop her from tearing out her locks.
But she was stunned when her new look attracted the attention of Jake Douglas, 21, who fell in love with her bald head.
She says her new boyfriend has made her feel more comfortable in her own skin and she now keeps her hair short to make him happy.
Kerry, from Leicester, says: “When I was 10, my mum found a clump of hair next to me on the floor while we were on holiday.
“She said to me do you realise if you keep on pulling your hair out you’ll go bald. It didn’t occur to me until then that that would happen.”
“I used to have thick, shoulder-length hair. I just assumed that it would grow back really quickly.
“I don’t really know why I started doing it. I was just quite stressed and worrying about changing schools.”
“When I first started, it hurt quite a lot because of the amount I was pulling out. But because I was doing it so often it just stopped hurting.
“It was ridiculous how quickly I began to go bald. It was really quite thin.
“I started to worry when I started secondary school and had to meet new people. To them I was like an alien.
“My mum and dad thought it was just a habit that I could get out of”.
Kerry went to see a psychologist who offered little help and said that she just needed to use her willpower to stop doing it.
Meanwhile, the bullying at school had got even worse than before.
She told The Tab student newspaper: “People would just say such awful things. By the time I was 14 it had got worse than it had ever been before.
“I would have people asking me what was wrong with me, calling me ugly and laughing in my face.
“They’d shout at me and ask me why I was so weird. There were girls who were really quite vicious.
“I once had to walk out of class because two guys were shouting ‘baldy’ at me.”
“I was really upset because I didn’t know who I could turn to.”
Once she went to university to study Art History, Kerry said her confidence grew after she shaved off all her hair and began wearing colourful wigs.
She said: “I was already nearly bald so I thought I might as well shave it off completely.
“I felt really good after that. Every time I tried to touch it there was nothing there for me to touch.
“My friends got really excited when I started wearing wigs. I could put my hair up in a ponytail and curl it if I wanted.
“I even started my own blog to try and raise some awareness about the condition.”
Kerry then met her boyfriend Jake in June last year, who was unfazed when he saw that she was completely bald.
The smitten couple met at a Comic Con event in London when she was dressed as Batman villain Poison Ivy while he was dressed as the Joker.
She added: “I had literally just shaved it all off so had no hair when I met him. It didn’t bother him that I was bald.
“I was so happy when he asked me out, I couldn’t believe it. All my friends were really happy as well.
“I told him about my condition on our first date and he was just really relaxed about it.”
“It was a relief because I really liked him and I wasn’t sure if he really liked me.
“He’s really supportive and tells me not to wear wigs now. He just wants me to be happy.”
Jake, an engineer from Kettering, Northants., added: “When I found out that Kerry didn’t have any hair, I didn’t see it as a problem.
“I thought she’s a really great person. Seeing the strength that she had to shave off all her hair made her even more attractive.
“I had no idea what the condition was at first. I didn’t even know it existed. It was eye-opening talking to Kerry about it.”
“We were about to go out for dinner a few weeks ago when Kerry was trying to decide what wig to wear.
“I said to her ‘Why don’t you go out without one?’ I find her attractive when she’s not wearing a wig and I don’t see why everyone else wouldn’t either.
“So what if you haven’t got any hair? It doesn’t change who you are as a person.
“I’m really proud of her and the awareness that’s she raising about the condition.
“I will always try and support her in whatever way I can. And I love her bald head.”