Coco Labbée paraded for the first time at Paris Fashion Week on March 3 for designer Rick Owens. An incredible experience for the young Quebec model of 24 years.
“American designer Rick Owens is so inspiring, he always put forward different people, strong personalities. He encourages diversity, it was great to meet him,” says Coco Labbée, who is still in Paris, a city she loves. “I even ran into Rihanna who was at the show! “, she adds.
Coco Labbée, who is bald, wants to talk about alopecia, which is hair loss. “It’s not a disease, I’m perfectly healthy, my body is rejecting my hair, that’s all,” she says.
The problem is that bald women are associated with cancer while bald men are not asked questions. Bald men, we see them everywhere, in magazines, in advertisements, and they have been parading on the catwalks for a long time!
According to her, the fashion world is more and more open to difference, even if some brands are not yet ready to feature a woman like her in their advertising campaign. “Perhaps it is difficult to identify with me? Unconsciously, bald women are scary and are still associated with the disease, ”underlines the one whose career is taking off at the moment. In addition to her presence at Paris Fashion Week, she has done photo shoots for the SSENSE boutique and for the international fashion magazine Shön.
The young woman admires the Canadian model Winnie Harlow, suffering from vitiligo. ” She is magnificent. She made people aware of her condition, she talks about it, it’s a good example. »
A heavy secret
If Coco Labbée fully assumes today, it has not always been the case. She lost her hair when she was a child, at 10 years old. A test that she found very difficult. The girl avoided mirrors for a long time, wore wigs for a few years and suffered from anxiety.
“My hair was falling out, then growing back, and falling out again. I had bald spots on my head, I camouflaged them, I lived under stress for years because I was always afraid of losing my hair again,” she explains.
She kept her condition a secret for nine years. “It’s a long time, nine years, to say nothing, to hide, not to assume,” she says. It was at CEGEP that she transformed this difference into strength. She broached the subject on social networks, then was invited by the American organization Children’s Alopecia Project to meet other young people like her. This is where everything changed.
It really gave me confidence, it’s as if we were a community, we bald people, we felt at ease. This organization has really changed my life.
Born in Trois-Rivières, she moved to Montreal at the age of 19. She started modeling around 18 or 19 years old. “I had hair and patches at the time, but I finally realized that I was going to send a strong message by being bald, and above all, I feel so much better, that’s what is important. Without my alopecia, being a model would make less sense to me. »
” I am different. I have a rather unique look, it can be unsettling sometimes to enter a room and realize that there is no one who looks like me. Fashion is a difficult environment. I know that my cast is different, I bring something else and I have to remember not to compare myself to other models even if people often talk to me about Ève Salvail. She shaved her head and she has tattoos, ”says Coco Labbée.
In parallel with modeling, Coco Labbée is completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Montreal in management, finance and communications. She hopes her story will help people accept themselves for who they are. “It’s crazy because I’m getting a lot of messages right now from people telling me about new treatments to grow my hair, but I’m so not interested! I’m better than ever, I’m happy as I am, I take full responsibility. »