Katie Piper has exclusively revealed that she “just wanted to disappear” after suffering life-changing burns in a 2008 acid attack.
The mum of two revealed she went through a “complex time” when she was “subjected to abuse” by “builders and white van men”.
Katie said from the back, with her flowing blonde locks, she “got a lot of uninvited attention”.
However, it was a “different” story from the front, with Katie revealing she decided to change her hair colour so she would “blend in” more.
What did Katie Piper say about wanting to ‘disappear’?
After the acid attack, Katie said that she felt her hair was her “only way to communicate with the world”.
She told ED!: “I’ve been every colour – from dark black to blonde, I’ve been purple and pink.
“I’ve been so experimental because it felt like my hair was my strength and my tool and my way to communicate with the world when I couldn’t change my face – when that was out of my control.”
Katie added: “There was a time when I first went brunette that was more of a complex time for me where I felt like I wanted to blend in more.
There was a time where I just wanted to disappear and that’s why I went brunette.
“I thought that blonde stood out more and got a lot of uninvited attention from builders and white van men from the back – and from the front it was different and I’d be subjected to abuse.
“There was a time where I just wanted to disappear and that’s why I went brunette.”
She added: “I have been brunette when I was in a good place, but when I’m blonde I’m at peace and I’m home, I’m me and I’m proud.”
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‘Everyone deserves to feel beautiful’
Katie has worked with hair care giant Pantene for years and has teamed up with them again to celebrate the launch of the Silky & Glowing range
She said: “In the beauty world, if you went back 10 or 12 years to when I was attacked, would you have seen that? I don’t think you would.
“So it’s a really brilliant celebration of authenticity and diversity. It shows that everyone is different but everybody is beautiful in their own way and deserves to feel beautiful.”
What she’s teaching her daughters about beauty
Katie also revealed that she’s teaching her girls – Belle, seven, and Penelope, three – to be their “authentic self” when it comes to the idea of beauty.
“We all look so different in terms of me having a facial disfigurement and their dad is half Jamaica so they’re mixed race,” Katie explained.
“We’ve had lots of questions from them, like why isn’t my hair like yours? But we try to do lots of positive things – we buy diverse books, we have diverse toys and how to embrace your differences.
“I didn’t think we’d be doing it at this young age but it’s been instigated by them and they’ve seen my Pantene advert so they talk to me about hair – but mainly they talk to me about how I get inside the television when I’m sat in the lounge – they just don’t get it!” she laughed.
“My eldest daughter knows that I do look different and that you don’t usually see people in shampoo ads that look like me. So even at seven she’s really getting those positive messages to present as your authentic self and people will accept you for who you are.”
It’s ‘important to surrender’ to down days
As much as she is super positive during our chat, Katie did admit to down days. And she said that it’s “important to surrender” to them.
“If I’m having a down day I think it’s important to surrender. It doesn’t always have to be about, oh I shouldn’t feel down, I shouldn’t feel bad.
“Saying: ‘Actually today I felt a bit depressed and this is what I need to do for me, this is what I need to do to fill myself up,'” she continued, revealing she heads into the bathroom with a hair mask and shuts the family out for a while.
Katie Piper: ‘I don’t know who I am any more’
On the subject of hair, Katie said lockdown has made her question who she is.
Speaking about her lockdown look, she said: “It’s been a mixture of ghetto rough or super glamorous. There’s no in between.
“It’s either stained clothes and bad breath or blow dry and red lipstick. I don’t know who I am any more,” she laughed.
Katie also spoke about going back into the world as lockdown lifts. And, having filmed Songs of Praise recently, she certainly noticed a difference on her waistband.
“I thought I must get back into zips and denim and high heels and oh my god I was chafing. I was like: ‘What’s happened to me?’ I’m so used to soft fabrics,” she laughed.
“I was like a granny and asked if I could sit down in-between takes, my feet were hurting. I think I just need to start wearing leather trousers around the house to get back to normal,” she said.
Pantene’s Silky & Glowing range is available now exclusively in Superdrug and via the website here.
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