Teenager Fred Buljo never showed up without a hat

Published April 16th 2022, by Elle Gaup-Johansen, nrk.no
Translated by Karina Brandt, May 19th 2022

– I was young and afraid of what others would think, says Buljo. Now he tells how he experienced losing hair.

 Hat: Now he wears a hat just to not freeze, which wasn’t the case when Fred Buljo was younger.
Photo: Private

Since the world reopened, there have been busy days for Keiino-Fred.

On Easter evening, he entered another big stage as one of the presenters in the world’s largest Sami music competition; the Sámi Grand Prix.

– I look forward very much and have very high expectations of the artists. They are really talented this year, he said eagerly before the competition.

Program managers: Fred will lead the Sámi Grand Prix with Alexandra Rotan.
Photo: Edmund Grøndmo/NRK

Today, Fred Buljo appears jovial and confident.

However, he was not when he started losing hair as an 18-year-old.

Cardigan and a scarf

2007: Fred Buljo is 18 years old, and has just noticed that he is getting thinner in his hair.

It does not match the hair fashion.

The hair should be tousled.

The “rescue” was always to wear a hat, cap or scarf.

This would also be his hallmark when his rap group, Duolva Duottar, hit “Norwegian Talents” in 2008.

Rap group: Fred Buljo started his singing career with the rap group Duolva Duottar. Here from «Norwegian Talents» together with Ivan André Skum, Mia Gundersen and Ole Máhtte Gaup.
Photo: Sara Beate Eira / NRK

Fred was the one of the three Sami boys who was always dressed in a kofte, jeans and the red scarf on his head.

Seeking comfort from mom

After “Norwegian Talents”, time became dark for Fred.

He is then 20 years old. The fact that his hair never would come back ate away at the psyche.

He seeked comfort from his own mother.

– You’re not your hair

Mother, Linda Elisabeth Øvergård Johansen. remembers very well the period when Fred was at home in Kautokeino.

They used the time to talk a lot together.

She tried to get her son to look at himself through the eyes of others.

– Gets desperate fast

After a few months with his mother and stepfather in Kautokeino, he travelled back to Tromsø, where he lived at the time.

– In a situation like the one I was in, you can quickly become a little desperate, Fred recalls.

He considered both hair replacement and hair transplantation.

In Tromsø, he bought a razor and threw away the scarf.

– Then I just shaved off the remaining hair, Fred says with a smile on his face.

– Time to talk about hair loss

His mother is sure that everyone saw Fred Buljo’s change after this.

Fred Buljo with his mother Linda Johansen

Øvergård Johansen thinks it was a heavy sack that fell off his shoulders.

– He no longer needed to be afraid that the scarf could fall off on stage, says Linda E.Ø. Johansen.

She thinks it’s time for it to open up to talk about young boys suffering from hair loss.

Doesn’t care what others think

Now it’s easy for Fred Buljo to talk about his hair. This was not the case before.

He doesn’t need time to think about what he can advise other young people to do.

– You do not have to be like everyone else. If you lose hair, you just have to dare to own it, he says.

On Easter evening, you could see how he shone and owned the entire stage together with his good friend and band member Alexandra Rotan.