For 9 years, Camila Coelho has endeavored to be as transparent as possible with her millions of followers on social media. But now the influencer is bravely sharing a part of her life that she has kept secret for more than two decades: her battle with epilepsy.
“I was diagnosed when I was nine. I remember this day clearly ”, said the beauty specialist to the magazine PEOPLE. In her pre-adolescence, Coelho says she felt like any other child - simply one who took medicine every night to control seizures.
“My mother said to me, 'Camila, you are a normal child. You will live your normal life. There's nothing you can't do, '' she says of the encouragement she received from her mother Mary, who also suggested that she keep her diagnosis private to everyone except her immediate family.
"It wasn't because she was ashamed," says Coelho. "It was to protect me." She followed her mother's advice, but after moving to Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the age of 14 after her parents' divorce, Coelho says she started to feel insecure.
"I felt different and didn't accept it. Why do I have to take medicine every night? Why can't I drink?" Coelho had been advised by doctors to avoid alcohol because of interaction with the medication - she remembers of asking herself in the high school. "I didn't tell my mother, I didn't tell my doctor. I decided to simply stop the medication ".
With the help of her husband, Icaro, Coelho - whose last seizure occurred in 2011, after doctors temporarily stopped her medication to see if she could do without it - she learned to prioritize her health and maintain balance in her often hectic life.
Between juggling fashion week trips, photo shoots and partnerships with the brands, in addition to holding design meetings for the Camila Coelho Collection brand and filming content for digital platforms, “I could be around the clock because I love what do it,” says Coelho, who has had seven seizures in life.
But lack of sleep and stress are factors that trigger her seizures, so "I say a lot of "no" ", says Coelho. She has 4.7 million subscribers on YouTube and 8.6 million followers on Instagram. "The time comes when I need to cancel some things because I am afraid that something will happen. I cannot affect my health because of my professional career" she concludes.