Tuesday 25 October 2016

Bearded Sikh Woman Chosen for Portrait Exhibition

Aditi Khanna/London

A British Sikh woman, who suffers from a condition that causes facial hair growth, has been selected for a new portrait series celebrating 60 of the best beards from all over the world.

Harnaam Kaur who decided to keep her beard despite being bullied was chosen for Project 60, which marks the launch of Beard Season - a non-profit organisation seeking to raise awareness of skin cancer by urging people to grow facial hair.

The 60 portraits will go on display in London later this year.

Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause excessive hair growth.

She was just 11 years old when a beard started to appear on her face and the hair quickly spread to her chest and arms.

She had to tackle bullies at schools and even death threats over the internet until she took the decision to be formally baptised as a Sikh for its ban on cutting body hair.

"I would never ever go back now and remove my facial hair because it's the way God made me and I'm happy with the way I am. I feel more feminine, more sexy and I think I look it too.

"I've learned to love myself for who I am, nothing can shake me now," said the 23-year-old Slough-based teacher, who had decided to share her story with the world via You Tube earlier this year.

It has taken her years to gain the confidence to speak out.

During her early teens, she was extremely ashamed of her beard and tried waxing, bleaching and shaving.

Photographer Brock Elbank, added: "We've had a lot of interest from some truly amazing people and Harnaam is one of them. To have her on board is such an exciting prospect for us.

"I like the fact that she has embraced having a beard and she's very striking with it." 

The project began in April this year when Beard Season began advertising on social media sites for the funkiest facial hair in the world.

The final 60 is currently being handpicked from thousands of applicants and many are being flown in from all over the world to Fenny Compton in the county of Warwickshire to be photographed by Elbank.

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