John Altman is a musical director, arranger, conductor, saxophonist and Emmy & BAFTA award winning composer. He began his musical career at the age of 3 with Judy Garland at the London Palladium and has scored over 50 movies, 19 Platinum records and over 4,000 commercials worldwide.

John has had alopecia universalis since 1999. 

John became an ambassador for Alopecia UK in 2014. In this interview, we find out more about him..

Please tell us a little about your experience of alopecia..

I was diagnosed in early 1999, after noticing an odd eye infection where I lost all my eyelashes! Within a few weeks everything had gone, quite a shock!  I took to wearing a cap all the time until a friend said "Don't let it take charge of you, you take charge of it!" I went to the local hairdresser, had it cropped short, came home, looked in the mirror, got out a razor and took the lot off. My hair never grew back. Within a few months I didn't need to shave my head (or my face). 

What would you say is the most challenging thing about having alopecia?

I'd say not having any eyebrows and eyelashes is the most challenging thing for me. At least there's no more smoking in clubs, although candlelight doesn't work too well for me. 

Do you think there are any advantages to having alopecia?

No grooming is a big plus for me! I can proudly say I haven't shaved this millennium!

Why is it important for you to be an Alopecia UK Ambassador?

I want to show others that there can be a terrific life after alopecia. I won my first Emmy Award for music I wrote in the early months of coming to terms with my alopecia. 

You’ve been an AUK ambassador since 2014, what do you enjoy the most about being part of this charity?

I enjoy being able to spread a message of positivity and hopefully inspire others to not be held back by their alopecia. 

Out of all the many achievements during your career, what are the three things you are most proud of?

I'm most proud of three movie sequences everyone knows; Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Life of Brian, the Tank Chase in Goldeneye, and the ship sinking in Titanic with the band playing on deck.  I am proud that I was responsible for all these!

What advice would you give to any young people wanting to pursue a career in music?

Stick to your guns and learn about every type of music – not just what excites you. Become familiar with how music works.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling with their alopecia?

Take charge of it - don't let it take charge of you!

Thanks to John for inspiring us. Find out more about all our Ambassadors here.