University of East London student to appear on Don’t Tell the Doctor

Emi Matsushita in the dance studio

Emi Matsushita in the dance studio - Credit: Archant

University of East London dance student Emi Matsushita is set to appear on Channel 5’s Don’t Tell the Doctor.

A bald spot in Emi Matsushita's hair

A bald spot in Emi Matsushita's hair - Credit: Archant

Emi, 31, of Stratford, will appear on the TV show that features young people seeking treatment for medical problems, as she suffers from alopecia areata, which stems from a problem with the immune system and causes patches of baldness on the scalp.

She only first noticed bald patches in her thick, dark hair this year, following a turbulent few years that saw her move from America, change careers and go through a divorce.

“There is no reason why it happens, but there are triggers they think could be factors, and they think stress could be one reason,” she explained.

“I was going through a divorce - If I had to guess what made it happen, it was maybe that life change.”

Emi, who had short hair most of her life, decided to grow it out after her divorce and received nothing but compliments, before the bald patches became clear.

“After I got divorced I started dancing more, so my hair was out there more, and it became part of my identity as a dancer,” she said.

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“I had strangers come up and ask where I got my hair done. I never styled it – I would just wake up and walk out the door, but people would be like, oh, I love your hair, can I take a picture to show my stylist.

“It just really boosted my confidence during that time of my life.”

Since, she has developed bald spots in her hair, but she doesn’t plan to let that bother her as she strives to become a choreographer or dance coach.

“I do feel self-conscious when I go outside without a hat on, but I think that’s normal.

“Every woman feels self-conscious some of the time, but I won’t hide myself. I’m aware that people may be staring at my head but I’m not going to cover it up because I’m embarrassed.”

You can watch Emi in Channel 5’s Don’t Tell the Doctor on March 9 at 9pm.