Fashion blogger, 22, used oversized clothes to hide tumours on her hipsDecember 20, 2018
But what her 7,500 followers might not realise is that there is a secret reason why the influencer prefers to cover up – and it’s down to what lies under her clothes.
The fashionista, 22, from Bradford, has previously kept tight-lipped about her genetic condition – neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which causes tumours to grow along her nerves.
Now the brave blogger has decided to share information about her condition in a BBC Newsbeat documentary called My Tumour Made Me Trendy.
Arooj’s tumours – some rock hard, some soft – have clustered on her left hip, making her waist appear disproportionate to one side.
The tumours aren’t cancerous, but they do cause pain in her joints and back, and also result in throbbing on her left side.
Arooj works as a model and said the industry is “all about looking good.”
She admitted to BBC: “It takes me longer to pick out clothes I want to wear because I'm worried my tumours will show.
“Summer is probably the hardest season for me to shop or dress up in because I usually wear layers.
“I want to slowly learn to accept my NF and maybe wear fitted clothing and not be ashamed about what I have.”
What is neurofibromatosis type 1?
- Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a genetic condition that causes tumours to develop along your nerves.
- The tumours are typically benign (non-cancerous) but can cause a number of symptoms.
- NF1 is a condition you are born with, but symptoms may develop gradually.
- Symptoms include tumours on or under the skin, coffee-coloured skin patches, clusters of freckles in unsual places such as the armpits or groin, and problems with the bones, eyes or nervous system.
- In half of all cases, NF1 is passed from a parent to their child.
- There is no cure currently, but treatment can include removing tumours, physiotherapy and psychological support.
The honest blogger said that she’s struggled with dating in the past and feels her tumours have “held her back”.
She added: “I worry though. How do you tell someone you're dating that you have a genetic condition? When is the right time? It's not a small thing, it's a big deal and it's going to be with me for the rest of my life.”
In the BBC documentary, Arooj reveals how she hasn’t met anyone else with the condition, except for her mum and little sister.
She gets to speak to another sufferer, Adam Pearson, who works as a presenter and who acted in the 2014 film Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson.
Adam’s tumours are mostly on his face, which causes problems to his vision.
In the show, Adam tells Arooj that he was bulled in school and given cruel nicknames such as "Elephant Man", "freak" and "Quasimodo".
Arooj was inspired by Adam, who is unable to hide his tumours under baggy clothes, and said she’s finally ready to share her body as it is.
After revealing her condition to her followers, she said she feels like a “weight has been lifted” off her shoulders, and she’s had numerous people message her with support.
One Instagram fan said: “Thank you for sharing you story! I also have NF1 and so much of your story resonated with me! Keep shining sis!!”
Another added: “Your a beautiful lady and doing amazing! Don’t be hiding yourself away show it for how beautiful it is.”
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