A young woman who was cruelly called ‘baldy’ by school bullies after losing her hair has had the last laugh – after scooping a prize in a beauty pageant.
Chloe Ashford-Smith’s school days were blighted by hurtful taunts because she suffered alopecia which caused large patches of her hair to fall out.
She was regularly called ‘baldy’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’ by some cruel classmates.
Despite the knocks to her confidence, 22-year-old Chloe has fought back and now is a beauty pageant contestant thanks to treatment to curb her hairloss.
Chloe, who has suffered from alopecia from an early age with doctors unable to diagnose the trigger, said: “It wasn’t quite daily abuse but every day was tough.
“Everyone at school knew about it pretty much because I had a wig made and wore hats and bandannas.
“I’d get called baldy in the dinner queue and I was once shouted at in a school assembly in front of everybody to take my hat off by a member of staff.”
In a bid to stop the taunts, Chloe’s mum would take her to hospital twice a week to undergo ultraviolet light treatment, while at her worst she even had to had to have rounds of corticosteroids injected straight into her scalp.
“The sad thing is, when I got to secondary school, it wasn’t any girls making comments about my hair,” said Chloe.
“Most girls were intrigued and would ask me questions about it – it was more the boys who were shallow and made me feel ugly.
“I’ve been called Humpty Dumpty and egghead by boys and told I look like a boy when my hair had to be cut short.”
The Leeds Beckett University graduate took even bigger strides recently as she was chosen among the contestants for the Miss Great Grimsby and District beauty pageant.
And in her first ever competition, Chloe even took home one of the main prizes, the Miss Publicity title, to well and truly shut the bullies up.
She said: “I never would have thought to enter, even while I was wearing a wig.
“I didn’t even know that was an award, so it was a massive shock.
“I’ve had girls messaging me saying they’re going through the same things, which is amazing to hear.
“To take part in Miss Great Grimsby felt so empowering and is definitely the best thing i’ve ever done.
“When the same guys who used to call me names see me now, they try to talk to me.
“I don’t think they remember saying the things they said, but I do.
“As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt to accept this is something I have and that it will be with me for life.
“I honestly think the best treatment for me is to just be happy in myself and stress free.”
She said the beauty pageant had made her feel empowered, adding: “I’ve been so scared to get this out there for everyone to see but it’s a big part of who I am today and if it helps another person out there feel that they aren’t alone that’s amazing.”