At 16, Harnaam had a realisation that drove her to start wearing her beard with pride. 

Video by Mamamia

Harnaam Kaur is a model, activist and motivational speaker with killer eyeliner skills. Oh, and she’s also got facial hair.

Entering puberty at 10 years old, Kaur was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries at 12 years old, a side effect of which is hirsutism which causes her to grow excessive facial and body hair.

For years the 26-year-old from Slough, UK, was bullied for it, threatened with knives and even stabbed with pens by her classmates. Now she has over 100,000 Instagram followers who follow her for her positive body image message of self love and acceptance. She’s delivered a Ted Talk, contributed to government discussions on body image and fronted body positive campaigns. She’s also the proud owner of the Guinness World Record for the youngest woman with a full beard.

As a self made, strong, empowered, Turban and bearded, multifaceted woman of colour. I AM PROUD OF ALL OF MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS! ❤️???????????? Becoming a Guinness world record holder for me was life changing! I now have a record for something that I was bullied for. I am the Youngest woman with a full Beard! For something that I was once bullied for having, I now hold a world renown record for. This goes to show that you can achieve anything and everything that you wish to once you are authentically and unashamedly yourself. Don’t be ashamed of who you are and the way in which your body is forming. The greatest love story that you can tell, is the one where in which you describe yourself in the most compassionate way. We all have elements and characteristics inside of us that society needs for it to be vibrant. Never dim your light, you are needed! Thank you @guinnessworldrecords for your support! Happy International Women’s day my beautiful people!

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Four years on from first sharing her story, Kaur still has to pinch herself.

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“I am actually shocked at the amount that I have been able to do and achieve in the past few years, it humbles me that people can actually connect to my life and story,” she told Mamamia.

“I have attained a lot and sacrificed a lot too, and I am humbled to look back and see all that I have been able to accomplish at the age of 26. I never thought I would be a Guinness World record holder, or walk the runway for London Fashion Week, travel the world spreading my message, or even have my own brand Treasures Within that holds events in hopes to empower men and women.”

She says her confidence has grown too.

“I love connecting to the people who support my work, and it is because of them and my team that I feel grateful. Knowing that people are actually being helped through my message, stand point in life and my words, allows me to keep on carrying forward regardless of the hardships I face.”

‘You can only give love if you first have it personally.’ I believed in this quote so much….I have self love so I am able to give it to people too, but what about people who don’t love themselves. Let’s face it, we don’t live in a fairy land where everything is butterflies and roses; not everyone loves themselves. I love myself but I haven’t been able to attract love( a partner) so what does that say about the quote above. Those who do not love themselves may love their siblings, their friends and their parents. There isn’t a lack of love there, love is present but for others if not for themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. We as people, the most powerful thing that we can do is not show our treasures, or share our inner treasures with others. The most amazing thing that we can do for people is to show them there’s. It is through this realisation we as a community can embed the seed of love within a person who is lacking it for themselves! ????- @catalinababs P.S- Anyone who says that they ‘don’t want to be with me!’ Congratulations, you’ve played yourself. I’m buff ❤️???? #harnaamkaur #selflove #italy

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Of course, she didn’t always feel that way. During her early teens, Kaur was viciously bullied.

“They called me a ‘man’, ‘a beast’, an ‘ogre’, or just ‘fat’,” she told The Guardian in 2016.

Concerned about her daughter, her mother took her to a beauty salon to remove her facial hair.

“It was horrible…The wax went on, then the paper, then they pulled. I screamed so loudly the woman getting her hair done in the next door chair threw her magazine across the room. I was crying my eyes out. I did that every other day because my hair grew so fast – and shaved in between,” she told the paper.

“They waxed it until my skin burned, going over the same patch again because some hairs were hard to get out. Then they would thread the raw skin, then pluck it.”

Kaur decided to wear her beard at 16 years old and it was this personal experience that pushed her to share her story publicly.

“I realised that people are struggling. Body shaming, bullying, lack of self love, low self esteem, and lack of self worth is universal; we all feel it at some point in our lives,” she told Mamamia.

“I had to be another person with a testimony to stand up and actually speak out loud, we need more people to do this, it is important for people who are dealing with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts to know that they are not alone. This is why I find it important to just carry on talking authentically.”

In doing so, she’s built a community online who are not only supportive of her, but more importantly each other.

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“On numerous occasions I have seen my followers help and support each other on my social media; how powerful is that? It’s so great,” she said.

“I remember receiving a message from someone saying that they are no longer suicidal after coming across me and my story. I receive messages from mothers and fathers who tell me that their children find me beautiful and pretty, and that they love my beard.

“I find it so important to not shy away from anyone, we never know what impact we are making on someone else’s lives; sometimes just our appearance or presence is powerful enough without having to say anything.”

That said, even Kaur isn’t immune to down days and nasty comments.

“I absolutely get comments from strangers that are unkind. It was only just recently I was having to block and delete various comments under a picture I posted where I spoke about the power of the nipple. Men and surprisingly women had negative things to say,” she said.

My side boob offended so many people, yet they forget that they were fed through a nipple, they were raised strong through a nipple. They forget that the Guru, the Saints, Jesus, Mohammed attached themselves for nourishment to a nipple. They forget that Legacies, heritages, and lineages suckled on a nipple. Have you forgotten how many meals were given to you through the nipple? Don’t you know that your future, your kids and their kids will grow mighty from the nipple. People pay for the nipple, they play games for that nipple. They will fuck, suck, touch and nibble on that nipple. I am proud of my body. I am proud that my body will provide numerous meals and nourishment, and my baby will feed through my nipple. Power to the nipple ❤️ ????- @catalinababs

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“I also still receive death threats, I am still bullied and body shamed, but I know my purpose on earth is a lot grander than their insecure opinions.”

On days where she is feeling low, she embraces them.

“We are humans, we are people and we all have emotions. I allow myself to have the down days and even cry to release negative thoughts and energies,” she said.

“I also realise that I will also get back up. My fallen days are as important as my high days; they remind me that I am also human with emotions; and they humble me too.”

Music also helps her heal, a particular favourite being anything from Sia.

Makeup is another passion of Kaur’s.

“I LOVE MAKE UP! More importantly I love the naturalness of my face. Make up is a hobby and I love playing around with different products. I love adorning my face with it and fashioning my face with the most amazing products when I go out, or when I have a party,” she told Mamamia.

“It is almost therapeutic to do so. I appreciate my face with it and importantly without it. I focus more on my eyes than anything else; I have great eyes that I hypnotise men with! Hahaha!! I won’t even apologise because it’s the truth.”

She also collaborated with grroming brand Captain Fawcett to create her “very own Bearded Dame Hair Elixir“.

“It helps to rejuvenate and replenish hair, and I LOVE IT,” she said.

Sunday early morning when I left my friend’s house in south London and got home at 6am, I was undressing in the bathroom and getting ready for bed. I still had my turban and make up on, but I was totally topless. Of corse I looked in the mirror and thought ‘DAYAAMM B you look good! Your boobs look fab, I see you podgy part, you look squidgy and cute too!’ I then stared deep into my own eyes and saw a powerful image. I saw my body in a way that I have never seen her before. What a special temple! I couldn’t stop looking at her, I couldn’t stop looking deep into my own eyes; I saw a powerful being, I felt an empowering energy with in my self! I was proud to be the woman that I was looking at in the mirror. It was odd because I was topless, but that topless image was power!

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By the simple act of being herself, Kaur is helping to challenge society’s view about what it traditionally means to be “beautiful”. It’s long overdue.

“Google says beauty is ‘a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.’ I want to ask Google what happens when the face, body, shapes and appeal fades away? Is that person no longer beautiful?” she says.

“Beauty to me is something that cannot be seen by the naked eye, it is something that is felt through a person’s energy, their aura and personality. It is the great qualities that we hold inside and the ways in which we treat ourselves and others.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Listen: Is there a ‘right’ way to talk to your daughter about body hair?

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