Sara Sampaio is opening up about her trichotillomania for the first time. Over the weekend, the 27-year-old model took to her Instagram story to show off her sparse eyebrows after a follower asked if she had a special routine for her supermodel-like brows. The Victoria’s Secret angel surprised fans when she revealed that not only is her brow routine tweezer-free, but that she has also been suffering from a hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania for more than a decade.
In a series of slides on her Instagram story, Sampaio shared that she was first diagnosed with trichotillomania, an impulse-control disorder that results in the long-term urge to pull one’s hair, when she was 15 and began pulling out her eyelashes. Soon after, she moved onto pulling out the hairs of her eyebrows. Though Sampaio has gotten her impulses under control, with the help of doctors and supplements, she still experiences bad episodes when she’s under stress or doing something mundane, such as reading a book or watching TV.
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Sampaio shared her story with the hope of normalizing her trichotillomania and explain to others that her disorder, as well as other psychological disorders, are beyond the individual’s control and should not be judged. After revealing that she has embraced her hair-pulling disorder as a part of her, Sampaio urged her followers to be compassionate and understanding to others who might have similar conditions.
“I’m not ashame[d] of it. It’s a part of me (a “crazy” me) Hahahaha but it’s who I am! So if you have it, don’t be ashame[d] to talk about it and don’t be ashame[d] of it!” Sampaio wrote. “So always be kind to people, don’t judge. This is a [psychological] disorder that people simply can’t stop! But being understanding and kind goes a long way.”
As a model whose image is a crucial component of her career, we can understand how difficult it was for Sampaio to open up about her trichotillomania. We hope that her message has inspired others to not live in shame as well. Read her story in full below.