Bearded lady reveals why she has ditched the razors and embraced her fuzz
Having deep hangups about your physical appearance is pretty much part and parcel of the human experience in 2018. We are constantly being bombarded with images of perfection on our various social media pages so it's hard not to feel that you're always lagging behind in the looks department.
Generally, however, we tend to be insecure about the traits that other people perhaps wouldn't be, and vice versa. But it's safe to say that in a world where people are heavily encouraged to shave their body, having "excess" hair is something that many people - particularly women - feel very self-conscious about.
Sometimes though, women are born with conditions that encourage excessive hair growth, and some of them end up developing a lot of facial hair.
One bearded lady, in particular, has opened up about the experience and has revealed that after decades of trying to hide her beard, she now has pride in it and even styles it with ribbons.
Take a glimpse of this eye-opening interview she did with Brut:
For years, Little Bear Schwarz would wake up extra early just so she could shave before her partners woke up to see her stubble. Two years ago, however, the 33-year-old finally decided to fully accept her facial hair after winning a beard competition.
Since making the brave decision to stop shaving her beard, Schwarz has noticed people staring at her and even doubting her gender.
In spite of this, she refuses to go back to daily shaving routine.
“I’ve had a taste of being myself and I can’t go back to how I was,” she said. “I’m proud of my beard and work hard to keep it soft. I put ribbons in it and make it in to spikes or shape it to look like tentacles.”
Miss Schwarz, of Seattle in the US, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when she was 31.
One of the main symptoms of the condition is excessive hair growth and it is precisely that which Schwarz used to struggle with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, doctors could not initially find any cysts when they ran ultrasound scans, and so an official diagnosis did not immediately follow.
Check out her incredible web show Little Bears All:
It was at the age of 14, that she started growing hair on her upper lip, chin, and chest. “I began shaving on a regular basis,” she said. “Keeping it wasn’t an option. I would shave in the shower as I didn’t want to see myself doing it. I was very secretive about it.”
Schwarz explained that she would develop shaving rashes which she tried to conceal with makeup. She even thought about opting for laser treatment or waxing, but the former option was too expensive and she didn't want to leave her hair to grow out until it was long enough to wax.
So she would simply shave the excess hair whenever it grew back, even if this meant having to wake up early at a boyfriend's house to do so.
“I did a lot of dating,” she said. “I played a game of, ‘Let’s make sure they never see my stubble.’”
Back in September 2013, Schwarz met her now-ex-boyfriend on Facebook, and he accepted her for the person she was, including her facial hair. After about a half a year, she moved 3,000 miles from Florida to Seattle to live with him and felt confident enough to start growing her beard.
She said: “In Seattle, I was working from home, so didn’t need to shave for work. I felt like I was safe to try growing my hair.
“Seattle seemed more progressive and welcoming than Florida too. My ex accepted me. I even joked with him that he couldn’t grow a good beard.”
At first, Schwarz was worried she had made a terrible mistake by ditching the razor. However, she then recalled a TV show called Whisker Wars she had seen a few years earlier, about competing to grow the longest beard. After doing some further research, she discovered a local competition for bearded ladies called Whiskerinas.
The thing is, what Schwarz wasn't aware of was that the competition was actually for false beards made from various materials such as wool, as opposed to actual facial hair.
“Everyone else had made papier mache and knitted beards,” she said. “I turned up and thought I’d have the worst beard there, but I was an instant hit. When I won, I felt like it was a sign I should carry on.”
It wasn't long before Schwarz realised she could actually make a career out of growing a beard. In fact, at the competition, she met the Wreckless Freeks, a circus sideshow troupe and they asked if she wanted to join their sideshow. Despite having no former circus experience, she said yes and spent six months learning the trade.
Schwarz even decided to incorporate opera and burlesque into her act. She has now been performing with the Wreckless Freeks for two years.
Watch the vid below to hear her spectacular voice:
Schwarz, who has now split up with the boyfriend who inspired her to stop shaving, said: “At the start friends and family feared my involvement would be degrading, or I’d be a spectacle.
“But I’m happy to show myself off. People are accepting and like what we do.”
Schwarz also opened up about how some people seem genuinely confused by her appearance, some even slyly trying to take photographs of her.
“At first it hurt, but I just smile at them now or stare back,” she said.
“There would be more repercussions if I did shave, now that I’m a mouthpiece for PCOS and women with beards. I’m proud of who I am.”
It's incredibly beautiful and inspirational that this woman has managed to overcome her biggest insecurity. Not only has she accepted her facial hair for what it is but she is now benefitting from having it. Let this be a lesson to us all that our biggest hangups don't have to be a liability, in fact, they can be the complete opposite.