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"Hate the title - LOVE the show!"

10th March 2015

February saw the completion of the observational documentary series ‘Too Ugly for Love?’ which featured charity manager Jen Chambers. The show caused a stir because of the controversial title, but with magazines such as Reveal, Woman, Heat, TV Choice, The Sun TV Magazine and Daily Mail’s ‘Weekend’ (to name a few) all recommending ‘Too Ugly for Love?’ as ‘one to watch’, the show actually became very popular! It pulled in such a large audience it became the most watched show on TLC UK.  On the opening night so many people were talking about the show’s hashtag that it was trending on Twitter.  Jen was overwhelmed (and relieved) by the positive response to the show from those that watched it, with the general feedback being that while people didn't like the title, they loved the actual show.  Here she reflects on the show now that it’s all over:

“It’s been a bit of a crazy experience taking part in a TV show.  It’s very surreal watching yourself on television (even more so to sit with your parents and watch yourself on a date while they analyse and pick it apart, laughing their heads off throughout!).  I’ve already written about why I took part [see here].  Beforehand, I won’t lie, I was extremely nervous!  Firstly because at times last year I felt like my insides were on the outside, i.e. I knew I had shared a lot of private thoughts and feelings whilst filming.  I had decided to give it my all and just see what happened.  I might have dipped in to old feelings at times but they were all things I thought or felt over the years with alopecia.  The second reason for being extremely nervous was the title!  It’s amazing the impact a few words can have.  The producers went for controversial.  It worked.  It was the most watched show on TLC UK, ever.  So it got the word out.  In some ways it worked, in other ways it didn’t though.  I was a bit disappointed that the title put some people off and they refused to watch it based purely upon the title.  To anyone who might have taken offence at me taking part in the show I can only say that it was a new programme and the title wasn’t decided upon by the producers until all the filming had been done (and I had no say in it!).  I agreed to take part purely on the concept of the show- people with hidden medical conditions that can impact on feelings towards dating.  My alopecia has impacted on my dating life over the years.  This was an opportunity to explore that.  So I did! 

The show may have what is perceived as a horrible title but if we get past that first impression the show content is actually really good.  The hundreds of tweets, Facebook messages and emails I got from all over the world can attest to that.  It was lovely to get so much positive feedback about the show.   I particularly liked the ones from people who said they hadn’t known what alopecia was but went away and googled it so they’d be more aware in the future.  I had wanted to raise awareness of alopecia and so I’m pleased it had this effect.  A huge thank you to everyone who supported me and sent me such lovely comments after they had watched the show.

Overall I have no regrets on taking part in the show.  Life is for living and for taking opportunities where they arise.  I like pushing myself, taking myself out of my comfort zone and facing fears.  It can be hard work but each time I do it helps me to grow as a person and can lead to positive life experiences.   So, to finish, for the many people who have asked…yes, I am now in a relationship!  :-p "

Below are some snippets of feedback that give a general overview of the feedback Jen received.  She wanted to share them now in the hope they will inspire others with alopecia who may have allowed their condition to hold them back with dating:

“Just want to say you are beyond beautiful in every way, your courage is so amazing it really brought a happy glow to my heart”

“You should be approaching your life with masses of confidence.  There are millions of men who will, like me, have absolutely no problem at all with your condition.  I think the way it has affected you has had much more of an impact on you than any person you meet.  I actually think that when you had no hair it only accentuated your beautiful face.”

“I wanted to message you because in 4 words, I think you're amazing! You are an inspiration and the journey that you have been on, through watching the programme is so incredibly brave! I have spent the last 2 years recovering from an eating disorder. After 8 severe years of hell I feel I have found happiness! And it seems you have too! Most importantly in yourself. You are a complete attribute to the charity and I think your story can inspire so many others! You are beautiful both inside and out!”

“… Since seeing you I have researched the condition, learnt more and became more aware. So if you can't take the compliment, please know you have created awareness which can't be bad.”

At Alopecia UK we all watched the show and were very proud of Jen for taking part. We’re also thrilled that it had a happy ending for Jen on the relationship front too! There were a lot of people who wanted to watch the show but missed it due to not having the channel.   If anyone missed it that did want to see it it’s now available to purchase on TLC’s YouTube channel [TLCUKFullEpisodes] for £1.89 an episode or £8.99 for the full series.  Jen is in episodes 1,2 and 4.

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