Beards make men more desirable but what about women? Unwanted hair is undoubtedly every woman’s scourge. Oh wait, there are murmurings of a backlash from some hirsute ladies who are extremely proud of their facial hair. Yes, talk about body confidence, if you prefer.
Here, in an attempt to encourage young women to adopt a more forgiving attitude towards their bodies, Onmanorama Women features 10 bearded ladies who chose to celebrate their anomalies with pride.
1. Harnaam Kaur
This UK-based 26-year-old is a model, body positivity activist and a life coach. Harnaam first noticed her unusual facial hair when she was all of 11. Challenging bullies, online trolls and beauty standards, she started growing beard 10 years ago after getting converted to Sikhism.
2. Balpreet Kaur
Another Sikh woman, Balpreet doesn’t want to waste her time on physical beauty. She says she’d rather invest that time on cultivating some inner virtues. The 25-year-old who sports a beard and sideburns rose to fame in 2012 when a bully from her college posted her picture in a ‘funny’ Reddit thread. When Balpreet, who was then studying Neuroscience at Ohio University, saw the cruel comments on the Internet, she didn’t get upset or offended. Instead, she posted a reply that won her millions of fans: “To me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.”
German-born Mariam, 53, started having facial hair ever since the birth of her son 33 years ago. The single mom, who used to pluck her facial hair every day for almost two decades, stopped tweezing after a while and decided that she would keep a beard. Today, Mariam travels the world as part of a bearded lady circus act and blogs about her life.
4. Annalisa Hackleman
Annalisa from California was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 13. Now 33 years old, Annalisa works as a professional photographer and interestingly, spends most of her time making other women feel beautiful, despite feeling the burden of her own insecurities.
5. Jennifer Miller
Perhaps the most successful bearded lady, Jennifer Miller (56) is an American circus entertainer, writer, and professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has lived with a beard for most of her life. She is also a performing artist, juggler and fire eater. Miller, who is the co-founder of circus Amouk, lives in New York City.
6. Little Bear
Little Bear Schwarz had been waxing, shaving and undergoing laser treatment to get rid of her unwanted fuzz ever since she was as a teenager. For years, the 33-year-old from Seattle would wake up early to shave before her partners woke up, ensuring they wouldn't see her stubble. But now, Bear embraces her little beard and even styles it with a ribbon. Bear works as a performer with a circus group.
7. Kore Bobisuthi
A 30-year-old mom from Oakland, Kore Bobisuthi draws attention from almost every person she comes into contact with. The thing that shines the spotlight is her brown beard - full and natural, covering her chin and upper neck, running up the sides of her face. Apparently, she also hid behind the razor for so many years before finally deciding to ditch the clean-shaven look for good. Once she embraced her new look, she competed in a beard and mustache competition and became a subject of euphoric headlines in the media.
8. Jessa Olmstead
Jessa Olmstead is a Guinness Record holder for the longest beard on a woman in history. Jessa works as a performer at the Venice Beach Freakshow.
9. Vivian Wheeler
Although she was born a hermaphrodite (with both male and female reproductive systems), Vivian Wheeler’s male sex organs were removed soon after her birth. But Vivian continued to produce in profusion one attribute most females do not possess: facial hair. Now 59, Vivian, who had been a performer in sideshows for the most part of her adult life, has no qualms about showing herself in public.
10. Rose Geil
Oregon-based Rose Geil says she feels sexy and confident ever since she stopped shaving her facial. Rose, 40, believes her hairiness is due to a combination of polycystic ovary syndrome and genetics.