Fake lashes are a staple in any Essex girls’ beauty kit – but unlike the rest of her TOWIE co-stars, Sam Faiers admits there’s another reason why she’s rarely seen without her falsies.
The 21-year-old has trichotillomania (TTM) – a disorder that causes sufferers to pull out their own hair during times of stress. Sam regularly pulls all her eyelashes out and has even done this in her sleep at one stage.
‘I’ve done it since I was seven after being told to make a wish as I blew away a stray eyelash,’ she tells Now. ‘My dad had gone to prison and “pulling” became a real comfort to me – and it’s been a habit ever since. Now, I don’t have any eyelashes at all.’
Sam has tried different treatments to keep her disorder under control, but knows she’ll always have to battle it.
‘When I was 14, I had hypnotherapy and stopped pulling. My eyelashes grew back, but once the treatment was over I started again,’ she explains. ‘I know I need more therapy and want to try again in future.’
‘When I was 16, I decided to stop letting it control my life,’ she adds. ‘Instead of hiding away, I’d tell anyone why I didn’t have eyelashes. ‘Being open and accepting the condition helped – the more we talk about it, the easier it will be for society to accept and understand it – it’s no different to someone who bites their nails!’
Brave Sam hopes she can help other trichotillomania sufferers by speaking about her own experience with the disorder.