EXCLUSIVE: “I’m shaving my head for charity!”

The Tab interviews fearless Jo Kelen, who will be losing her locks for mental health charity Mind.


Whilst last week was dominated by the viral Cancer Research trend #nomakeupselfie, Notts second year Classics student Jo Kelen has much bigger fish to fry. 

A brave feat that would fill most female students with dread, Jo will be shaving off all of her hair in order to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity Mind.

Speaking exclusively to The Tab, Jo tells us why she’s made this decision, what Mind means to her and her plans involving coconut oil and dressing as Voldemort…

So, what made you decide to shave your head? 

It’s always been one of those ‘to do before I die’ things in the back of my head but I never did anything about it until a recent frape! One of my friends posted a status saying “I’ll shave my head for charity if this gets 100 likes.” I was so surprised by the amount of likes it did actually get that I decided to go for it and do something meaningful for a charity I care about.

Didn’t fancy doing a bath in baked beans or a massive cycle trek then? 

No way, that would be a waste of about 100 perfectly good student meals! I felt shaving my head was the right kind of commitment to the cause and a more powerful statement that means a lot to me.

It’s a huge statement! Why did you chose Mind as your charity?

Mental health issues have affected my friends both at home and at uni; the support they get from charities like Mind helping with legislation and facilities is already fantastic but there’s still a lot that needs to be dealt with.

There’s still a stigma in society around mental health issues that is being avoided much like an elephant in the room so I think a statement like shaving my head might bring some people’s attention to it. It’s my way of saying “hey, it’s ok to discuss mental health issues!”

What do you think about the the #nomakeselfie for Cancer research? 

I was just nominated for that, I might wait until Friday and start a new trend, #nohairselfie!

Jo enjoys doing the hair tash for the final time.

Jo enjoys doing the hair tash for the final time.

Have you thought about life with no hair?

The first thing I want to do is moisturise my head with coconut oil. I’ve also been promised some dome wax so I can have an extra shiny head so people that are taller than me can look down and use me as a mirror.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

How else will you rock the bald look?

I’ll be staying away from wigs because  that kind of defeats the object. I’ve got a couple of beanie hats, though, as I’ve been told it can get chilly. Many, many headscarves have also been purchased it’s the perfect excuse to dress up as a pirate.

Your fancy dress options will be endless, would you consider going as Voldemort? 

I have a turban, I could be Professor Quirrell!

The hairdressers in Portland are shaving Jo's head for free in support of the cause

The hairdressers in Portland are shaving Jo’s head for free in support of the cause

What are you most looking forward to being bald?

I’m already pretty bad at doing my hair in time for lectures in the morning and it’s so irritating sometimes so it will be nice to have a break from hairstyle responsibilities!

Have you got any bald celebrities as inspirational figures? 

I think I’ll be attempting to channel Jessie J and Natalie  Portman rather than Britney Spears…

Jessie J shaved her head for Comic Relief in 2013

Jessie J shaved her head for Comic Relief in 2013


Jessie Jo?

Jessie Jo?

Are you nervous at all?

Yes a little bit, as it’s getting nearer and nearer my friends are freaking out on my behalf and it’s slowly starting to dawn on me! But then I remind myself what a great cause it is and if I’d never done it I’d be constantly wondering what if I had?!

How did your friends and family react when you told them what you were doing? 

I’ve had a lot of mixed reactions, like my dad being devastated that the cute little smiley face he’s used to seeing will now be bald. My mum is really proud, she’s a breast care nurse so her patients have promised to teach me cool ways to tie my headscarves. As for my friends, reactions tend to range from “wow that’s amazing! You’re really brave!” to “what the hell are you doing?!”

Well, The Tab has a massive amount of respect for what you’re doing! How much money are you planning to raise?

My original target was £100 but we’ve now raised up to £400. I’ve had an amazing amount of support from not just close friends but lecturers and people who I barely know who are all willing to get on board with the cause which is incredible.

Good luck Jo, The Tab is behind you!

Good luck Jo, The Tab is behind you!

Jo’s headshaving will take place on Friday 28th March, 4pm at Portland Hairdressers. Please come along and watch! 

http://www.justgiving.com/Jo-Kelen/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Jo-Kelen&utm_campaign=pfp-share Please donate whatever you can!