Fashion and beauty influencer Camila Coelho just revealed she suffers from epilepsy.
The model and personality, 31, who lives her life in the Instagram spotlight, rarely shares intimate details about her life with her followers. Still, in an interview with PEOPLE, she chose to finally expose her lifelong health crisis.
It has been 22 years since Coelho had her first seizure. She was just nine years old at the time, and the memory of feeling scared and helpless still makes her emotional.
“I was playing with a friend, and all of a sudden I felt my hands closing — my fingers, one by one,” she recalled. “I told my friend, ‘My hands are closing!’ and she was like, ‘Stop joking, Camila. I don’t believe you.’ The I remember just fainting. When I woke up I heard my mom saying, ‘Camila, are you okay? Just talk to me.’ I wanted to respond, but I couldn’t. That made me really sad and scared.”
Soon after, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, but her mom advised her to keep her condition a secret, thinking she was protecting her from being bullied.