Name: Natasha Ng’uni
Natasha Ng’uni was born normally like any other child, with all human abilities. At the age of six (6) her hair began to fall off and within a few weeks she had completely bold head.
For a parent of a girl child, hair falling off was a very big issue because the pride of a any girl child world over is her hair.
The family of Natasha engaged medical doctors, and including many other avenues such as traditional healers but to no avail.
Natasha was at her tender age diagnosed with a medical condition called alopecia totalis – a condition where the immune system fails to recognize ‘its own’ hair follicles and attacks them stopping hair growth.
She lost eyebrows and lashes as well as any hair on her body –in school, she became a “wonder object” to her mates. Somehow, Natasha was psychologically affected.
However, as she grew through her adulthood, Natasha eventually decided to live life for herself and not for the societal order.
She joined a photography team in her church following a basic training in this profession and owned no camera of her own – but using her home acquired baking skill, Natasha could offer her services to persons within her community to raise some penny for her own Camera.
She baked- saved- and finally bought her own camera.
At the age of 18 in 2015, Natasha established a photography business dubbed Legacy Photography were she currently serves as Chief Executive Officer.
Narrating her ordeal, Natasha says when her mum came to reality of her daughter’s chronic condition which has no remedy, she didn’t want her to know.
“After so many doctors only one doctor identified my symptoms and diagnosed me with Alopecia. My caring mother didn’t want me to know or think about my diagnosis,” Natasha narrates.
Alopecia is believed to be an auto-immune disorder where the immune system fails to recognize its own hair follicles and attacks them hence causing hair growth to stop instantly.
“My childhood changed drastically, my friends were so used to seeing me with cute little hair styles and suddenly I was wearing head socks. Like every inquisitive child, they wanted to know what I was hiding and they began asking questions”
She further says at time she was bold enough to tell a few clothes friends about her condition but still hard to deal with the bullies who always looked down on her as less human for her condition.
“Bullying was probably the hardest challenge I had to deal with in my school life because every day I would have other pupils threatening to pull off my head sock and most of the time, they did it. It was a difficult period for me I must confess, I even hated going to school,” she says.
Natasha narrates that it was at age 9 when she last saw hair on her own head after a bit of it grew on her. It was a thrilling moment for her and her family as it signaled signs of wonders that Natasha would eventually have her hair back with time.
She says her 9th birthday was celebrated with her little hair but the happy moment was not long enough as the hair mysteriously disappeared until today. Her parents had to obtain permission for her to wear head socks and at times a wig at every school she attended.
“When I grew a little order I now began to wear wigs. When I was in my 7th grade, some pupils in higher grades gave me a nickname “baldilocks” and it was something I chose not to bother me, but it always stuck in my head,” Natasha says.
Natasha says even though her mum lost hope in any conventional medical remedy to her condition, her faith rested in God. Her family remained supportive for Natasha.
“Sadly when I reached grade 12, my mum passed away and it was something really difficult to deal with. Mum fought many years to see me get cured but to no avail. I almost felt like that was the end of our search to finding me the cure. I was grieved by her passing and one thing I would always cry about was “who was going to pray for me?” Who is going to massage my scalp? It really wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with but then I realised that there is a time when one needs to take things in their own hands and hope for the best,” she says.
Natasha eventually decided to face the world and said ‘wig off’ after completion of her high school. She says a time when she attended a certain gospel concert, her God spoke to her to accept her situation adding that it took some time before she could accept that she was made like that and was special in God’s own intention.
“One day my sister had asked me to escort her somewhere and when I was getting dressed, I did my make up without my wig on. I looked in the mirror and said, “hmm, not bad”, and that was how I started going in public without a wig or a head sock,” she says.
Natasha also says she would hear various people passing funny and bad comments about her. However, she says others would encourage her “bald natural look”, albeit did not know her medical condition was behind the look.
She says she remembers her own brother reminding her that she forgot her wig after which she responded saying “no, I have left it behind” – that’s how she eventually got moving without any wig.
“Later in the evening, I uploaded a picture on my face book account and I was overwhelmed by the responses I received, I could not believe how people reacted to my drastic change. I never knew that just the one step I made could have touched so many lives”
She further says making a decision to stop wearing wigs was probably one of her hardest life choice but adding that now, being a photographer, the baldness gives her some “artist” look and that she loves it.
Natasha says she is now comfortable in her skin adding that she has never felt more confident and beautiful in her life than currently.
“I love what God has created me to be, and that’s what matters. I have recently located other two women who share the same situation as me. I actually managed to get one of the ladies accept her situation and she recently stopped wearing wigs.
Editor’s note: You can get Natasha Ng’uni on her official Facebook page “ Legacy Photography. Like and share Natasha’s page to encourage a young beautiful woman who has outlived the discrimination of her rare medical condition, to become an emerging prominent and successful photographer against all odds.