1. The Comeback Queen

She’s very quick witted and that razor sharp tongue of hers could slice you in two, literally. Before you can even hit her with your blow, the gloves are off and she’s smacked you back so hard you’re stunned into a giggle of disbelief. You never worry about this friend because you know she can handle herself in any situation, because who needs fists when you can simply cut someone with words instead?

Pros: She’s perfect when planning a response in the group chat.
Cons: She can really accidentally hurt your feelings.

2. The Last Minute Lucy

You love her but you also cannot stand her because this friend leaves everything to the last possible minute. Whether it be cancelling plans, asking for a favour or buying you a present, this girl is just always late. Though never on time, she’s always somehow super organised and it baffles you to this day. She could be the perfect friend if she just learned to respect time… in fact; you’re not sure whether she can actually tell the time.

Pros: She’s never on time.
Cons: She’s never on time.

3. The Musical Genius

Miranda Sings / Via Tumblr

She knows the words to every song, mainsteam and/or underground, she’s always the first with concert tickets and is frequently heard saying “I heard that months ago”. This friend is the ultimate music lover and the one you go to when you need to know the name of that song you’ve been humming for weeks. Putting your music on shuffle can result in hundreds of (often bad) renditions of every song; from The Beatles to Bobby Shmurda this girl knows it all.

Pros: She can get those sold out Beyonce tickets.
Cons: She is the biggest music snob.

4. The Smart One

Ask her what the capital of Malaysia is and she’ll know it, alongside the population of Timbuktu and what yesterday’s homework was. She is your smart friend and a blessing from God to get you through those distressing years of education. Every assignment is done way before the deadline and her future is planned down to every tiny detail. When you’re crying in the library 45 minutes before your deadline, she’s your girl.

Pros: Helps motivate you with work.
Cons: Makes you feel so dumb.

5. The Not So Smart One

The Face / Via Tumblr

You often find your jaw dropping in shock at some of the unbelievably stupid things this girl comes out with. “No, Africa isn’t a country” you remind her in contempt. She’s fun and is a pretty smooth sailor when it comes to school but general knowledge is not her thing. Neither are books, or anything that has more than 50 words on a page.

Pros: Makes you feel so smart.
Cons: Says some stupid stuff.

6. The Yes Girl (FKA The Fun Friend)

Legal or illegal, this girl is up for anything and that’s why she’s secretly your favourite. Whether you fancy going to Nandos or going skydiving, your yes girl is down and that’s what makes her so fun to be around. You’ve most likely had some of the best times with her and she’s always in a good mood, which just adds to her likeability.

Pros: She’s always “up for it”.
Cons: Fearless (to the extent it’s actually bad, what if we get arrested?!)

7. The One Who’s Not Really Your Friend

More of an acquaintance, you’re not really quite sure how you and this girl ended up in the same circle. She’s like a friend of your friends and somehow you became friends too, but it’s cool because she’s cool and you like her. You get on perfectly well in social settings but sadly you know it will never develop further into anything else.

Pros: She’s cool.
Cons: You’ll probably grow apart in the next few years.

8. The ‘Twin’

This is the one; she’s exactly like you. You like the same things/people, you hate the same things/people, you and your ‘twin’ are like a match made in friendship heaven. You have the same sense of humour and your twin telepathy has you giggling at inside jokes in a room full of people without so much as moving your lips. You love her for the exact same reason you sometimes hate her, she’s you.

Pros: She’s exactly like you.
Cons: She’s exactly like you.

9. The Talkative One

She talks so much that she ends up saying things that you never wanted anyone to know. This friend is funny because she doesn’t know how to shut up, it’s just not funny when she’s talking about you. Accidentally spilling secrets is her forte but you know she means no harm she just has permanent verbal diarrhoea. Bless her.

Pros: She can always put a smile on her face with her clumsy mouth.
Cons: She talks too much.


As women, we are constantly being scrutinised about our hair. The texture, the length, the style, the colour, I could go on and on. Women of colour and in particular, black women have to deal with immeasurable amounts of nappy hair jokes from fellow black brothers and even other women. We have all had our fair amount of random sticky hands yanking our puffs in primary school and telling us how “spongy” (*insert side eye*) our hair is. Then as we got older and the hair got straighter, there were the painful pokes and that ever-invasive £30 question…“is your hair real?”

Looking back, those tedious situations and tiresome questions are sometimes quite funny and bond us. They create a shared experience, like black hair glue cementing a track we’ve all tiptoed at one point. The reality of all this is that, as cliché and pathetic as it sounds, hair is a big part of our identity. It plays a major role in the way we express ourselves, an integral way in which we are peer-assessed and even the way we dress. Basically, our hair is very important. With that in mind, imagine how hard it must be to be young, black and bald in a climate where hair is ‘everything’.

People act like I woke up one day in a bed full of hair and bald.

Tayla* is a typical 21 year old student who likes mojitos, Mac and minstrels like most girls her age. In fact the only thing that slightly separates her from her peers is that she has Alopecia Universalis, meaning she has no hair, at all.

Alopecia is a strange disease in the sense that there are no collective symptoms, aside from the obvious hair loss and there is no definitive ‘cure’ or treatment. As Tayla talks, her carefree, chilled vibe evaporates into a more solemn presence as she starts at the beginning.

When the doctor told me there was no way to determine whether my hair would start growing back in a week or in a year, I felt sick. I just couldn’t breathe.

Similarly to other ‘Alopecians’ (a word used in some support groups to describe people with Alopecia), Tayla’s hair loss began with a bald patch on her scalp that eventually led to complete loss of body hair.

So my hair started falling out, and it’s funny because I used to hate my hair, it was so tough! But then it starts falling and I’m crying actual buckets.

Laughing, she explains how when her hair first started falling out. she used to try and keep it in zip lock bags.

I don’t know why, it’s not like I was going to bloody glue it back to my scalp.

Websites dedicated to supporting people with Alopecia link the disease to stress and the NHS website states that often stress can prolong the issue and this was the case for Tayla.

Here I am in my first semester of my first year at uni, stressing out because my hair was falling out so more of my hair keeps falling out until there’s nothing left. Then my eyebrows, my eyelashes, everything, it just all goes. I could’ve drowned in my own tears that year.

By the end of her first year, Tayla had been diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis and was completely hairless. Always one to look on the bright side, she dryly joked “At least I don’t have to worry about shaving my legs anymore, that part is pretty good”.

Though there is no physical scarring, the emotional damage can be deep and painful.

At one point I felt so distraught I wanted to nearly commit suicide, I sunk into such deep depression that I had to take an interruption year out of uni. It sounds pathetic but it happened so fast that I felt like what should’ve been one of the best years of my life ended up being the worst.

A year on and she’s started getting used to her hairless body though it doesn’t make it easier for her. Seeing Tayla out and about you would never know about this condition and she credits this to her to what she calls “my holy grails, a good lace front wig and the Sleek eyebrow pencil”.

Sadly, she tells how she has to put on a face full of make even when she’s lounging about because she’s scared for people to see her without it. “It’s embarrassing you know, I don’t want them to feel sorry for me and all that. One time the fire alarm went off and I just stayed in my room because I couldn’t be bothered to put on my wig or draw on my eyebrows”. That unwanted pity has led Tayla to only telling two of her friends about the Alopecia.

“There are pros though, don’t get it twisted. I no longer have a designated washday and I haven’t bought mascara in forever! Of course no longer having to shave is the biggest blessing so all clouds…” she laughs heartily.

With Alopecia, the hair follicles remain active, so new shafts could produce whenever and Tayla excitedly tells me how she has two eyelashes growing and a few leg hairs so she is hopeful for the future. “If it doesn’t grow back I’ll live. As long as I have my brow kit and demi wispies anyway!”

So, It’s all well singing along to India Arie and chanting ‘I Am Not My Hair’ because it’s true, but there is also the fact that to many young women, hair is important and it does give us that sense of security. After all, in the words of Tayla “there’s a big difference being bald by choice and bald by force”.

*Name has been changed.