Amber Jean Rowan is a model, entrepreneur, and alopecia activist, having first experienced hair loss as a teenager – and was dropped by her agency. 

She has forged a successful modelling career regardless, but arguably her greatest achievements are setting up an online community Hair Free and also Amber Jean wigs, which has a retail outlet in London, where she’s based, but will be in Dublin for consultations this October 27-29.  

Cafetières at the ready for a leisurely long-read… 

Juno Long Set Pyjamas

You were diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 15, a time when young women are usually worrying about pimples than losing their hair. With the luxury of hindsight, what advice would you give your 15-year-old self? 


The advice I would give to my younger self is, as much as possible, surround yourself with people who love you and love you for who you are. I think that's really important to have that sense of community. And what helped me so much when I was going through my alopecia was having a passion in my life. For me, that passion was acting. I filled my time, energy and headspace – all my weekends and my evenings – with this passion. With acting, I felt like my hair loss didn't matter. 


Alopecia is believed to be an autoimmune disease, while psychological stress has also been linked as a potential cause. Meanwhile Alopecia UK cites that 75pc of all women with hair loss develop some kind of mental health disorder – which presents a chicken or the egg conundrum. Is alopecia any better understood since you were diagnosed over a decade ago? 


Yes, there's still a lot of misunderstanding around alopecia – and autoimmune conditions in general, when the body is basically fighting itself. They're still very hard to diagnose, and understand the actual reasons behind why people get them. It's one of my life's missions to get the word out there and let people know, educate them about what exactly alopecia is.  


There are some really successful clinical trials happening now, to help young women go on that journey if they want to get more of a medical treatment. For me, when I was first going through it, it was more my mental health and kind of accepting what was going on and learning how to live with alopecia. That was my main hurdle. There's still a lot to learn but we're getting there slowly but surely. 


Having alopecia has effectively shaped your career – while juggling modelling in 2018 you set up Hair Free, an online resource/support group for others who experience hair loss. You must've heard some really sad stories, but empowering ones too? 


Setting up Hair Free has been absolutely amazing for me because until then I'd never even met or spoken to another hair-free woman! So being able to gather that community and hear those women' s stories was so impactful in becoming more comfortable with who I am and in my ownhair-free journey.  


I've heard the most amazing stories, sad stories, happy stories. It really gives you grounding, when you hear stories from all different walks of life, of people going through [cancer] treatment or losing hair due to trauma, whatever it may be. It gives you a serious amount of perspective. But also it's just amazing for us to be able to share our stories with people who actually understand what it's like to be hair-free. We might’ve lost our hair for different reasons, but at the end of the day the result is the same. So we kind of have that sacred bond and it's definitely helped me and I think it s helped a lot of other women out there as well. Even just the visual representation of seeing hair-free women can be so impactful.
 Jungle Crop Set Pyjamas


In 2021 you launched Amber Jean wigs online and since February have a physical space in London Fields for in-person consultations, fittings, etc. Was that always the plan?


We set up Amber Jean online originally because we launched during the pandemic – and we learned so much in terms of operations, supply chain, everything. We kind of did all our online testings and learnings within that first year and a half.  


But although I did online consultations, I really felt that part of the puzzle was missing. And I know myself that I never had a good wig in-person buying experience, and thought women really deserved to have that. So having a physical space was a natural progression for the brand. 


It was always something I dreamed of being able to do, to give women who are going through something as traumatic as hair loss a beautiful experience, because that's what they deserve. Women will come in, we have a lovely chat together with cups of tea, talk about their hair loss journey, about what they want from the consultation, and then we talk about all the different styles we offer. I work with this amazing woman called Katie, a wig expert who' s been in the wigs industry for ten years, and together we – hopefully – create the hair of the dreams for the client who leaves with a smile on their face, which was something I never experienced growing up when I was going to buy hairpieces.  


What advice would you give to anyone considering setting up their own business? 


When I started my business at the very beginning I had a wonderful life coach who was super, super helpful. She kept me on the straight and narrow, helped me write down lists, helped me organise my thoughts, prioritise, which I think is really hard to do when you're setting up something new because your mind goes in a million different ways at any given time. She helped me have a path, stick to that path, and really just work hard every day and reach my goal at the end of every day. 


My advice is that you can definitely do it. Take each day as it comes. Don't try and do 10 million things on the first day. Literally pick one task, complete it, and that sense of achievement you get is just absolutely amazing. Also, surround yourself with people who are better than you at the things you're not necessarily so good at, and who don' t mind you asking them questions. Learn from them. There's no such thing as a silly question– you're learning, it's your first time doing something. 

Amber Jean Wigs 

One of your early modelling agencies dropped you when your eyebrows started to fall out. Youve since gone on to front a global hair colour campaign with Schwarzkopf LIVE Colour and graced several magazine covers, and worked with major fashion brands and houses. Do you feel like you're having the last laugh now? 


You know it's been a really interesting thing for me, my whole relationship with the modelling industry. Obviously it was a massive blow when I was 19 when I was dropped from my modelling agency because my eyebrows were falling out. But, you know, I look back at that time and I'd just finished school and I wasn't probably looking after myself as much as I should. It was a different world back then.  


It was the era of Cara Delevingne, that kind of kooky, pretty thin girl was the 'in thing. Diversity and personality was accepted at the time but not necessarily how the industry presented itself. The modelling world we have now is much better than when I was 15-19 years old, just trying to stay thin and buy eyebrow wigs so they'd keep representing me.  


I'm really blessed that it's a different world now, it's been amazing to see brands wanting to really show true representations of different women, because we all look so different. Of course we have a long way to go, but it has been amazing to be a part of that. I love being able to do modelling work now – it feels like a day off work when I get to go to a modelling shoot and meet amazing people and play dress up and have my picture taken. It's really beautiful. 


How do you balance work and wellness? 


For me, self-care and nutrition have always been extremely important and I think that has been instilled by my family, and also in my life with my husband Ben. That’s something we always try and strive for, to make sure we have a really healthy mind and body, to be our best selves and also in our work.  


Simple things have really helped me. I walk to work every day, and I walk through the park. That walk through nature every morning is really nice, to gather my thoughts. And yoga has been a massive thing to help with my mental health. That’s my time to just move my body, and breathe. Learning how to breathe [properly] has been an amazing tool for me to quell any kind of anxiety – I would’ve been inclined to panic. So that’s been a game changer. 


And in terms of nutrition as well, we eat as best we can. We eat mostly a plant-based diet, but have a little bit of fish every now and then. We just try and look after ourselves – but we also adore eating out and enjoy a glass of wine, or a martini, so we’ll definitely be doing that at the weekends. 

Jellyfish Blush Pyjama Set

As a model you know all the tricks of the skincare and makeup trade. What are your favourite morning and nighttime products? 

I've been using a lot more face tools recently, my gua shua [jade or quartz stone]. I go to Face Gym [salon/studio] when I can, and I bought one of their tools that really helps massage your face, I can really see the difference. 

In terms of makeup, I keep it super simple. Just a bit of eyebrows, a bit of a winged eye and I love a little bit of blusher to make me look fresh. My skincare routine is super simple too. I like to use an oil-based cleanser, something soothing. In terms of moisturiser, my go-to product is Weleda Skin Food Light. 


When was the last time you had an epic lie-on – and an epic all-nighter?  

I've never been much for an epic all-nighter. I kind of get to like, 2am and that's me done! And an epic lie-on… we have a dog, Reggie, so we don't sleep much later than 9am, even if we wanted to, as he'd be crying! Rarely we might sleep until around 11am – and that's when you know you really, really need the sleep. 


What books are on your nightstand? 

I'm currently reading Don't Touch My Hair by the wonderful Irish author Emma Dabiri, which is amazing. It's all about the cultural aspects of hair, as I'm preparing to start a podcast all about that. The book has been an amazing insight into black hair, its history, and what that means to the black community. I'm finding it incredibly interesting.  


Dreamiest modelling location? 

The main trip I remember, only because it was just so extravagant and I was so young, was spending my 17th birthday in an amazing five-star hotel in Mexico. I remember waking up on my  birthday in the most amazing place with this amazing team and just thinking that, oh my God, this is heaven. I remember walking around the streets, shooting, then we'd stop for lunch in this amazing, authentic little cafe. We'd have guacamole and tortilla chips, and I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world. 

 Juno Long Set Pyjamas


What keeps you awake at night – and puts a spring in your step in the mornings? 

I'm a really good sleeper, which is something my husband's very jealous of. I could fall asleep anywhere, anytime, literally – I once famously fell asleep at a Shaggy concert when I was younger, which is pretty impressive. Not much keeps me awake at night, to be honest. What puts a spring in my step in the morning? Coffee! When I wake up that' s the first thing I think of, I absolutely adore it. I only have one a day, but it's my favourite part of my day.  


What's next for Amber Jean the brand – and Amber Jean the person?  

Amber Jean the brand is just continuing to grow as much as we possibly can. We're heading on a little road show, going around to different cities around the world to give this experience to women who can't necessarily reach us in London.   

And for Amber Jean as a person, you know, I got married in July so I'm just enjoying married life. We bought a Jeep with a pop-up tent on top so we've really been enjoying getting out in nature when we can and being free to do whatever we like and travel around the UK and Ireland. We're going [Ireland] for Christmas, so we're really excited for that. And Reggie is finally gonna be able to come to Ireland and just enjoy the landscape and be by the beach. 


Who would be your top three celebrity pyjama party guests?

I'm obsessed with podcasts, and one of my favourites is a guy called Dax Shepherd, who hosts  Armchair Expert. I'd love to have the chats with him. Probably Kate Moss, because I wanna ask her just so many things about her life. That would be quite amazing and hopefully she'd bring some of her clothes that I can rob… Also, I'm obsessed with old school Hollywood stars, so maybe Marilyn  Monroe or Audrey Hepburn. Can I have both…? I'd like like to see them in a room together, see how they’d interact.

Which is your favourite Moon + Mellow piece?

They're all absolutely beautiful, they're such gorgeous pieces. But I think the Juno set is my favourite. The print is awesome and current, It's so chic! 


Amber Jean's M+M Pick

Follow Amber Jean on Instagram @amberjeanrowan

Juno Organic Cotton Pyjamas