When hair started to appear on her face at 11 years old, Harnaam Kaur was less than pleased. The excessive hair growth is caused by a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Ashamed, Harnaam started shaving, bleaching and covering her facial hair with creams after waxing became too panful.
But it was no use. Bullies at school would call her names like ‘beardo’ and ‘she-man’. Once death threats began to appear, life had got so bad for Harnaam that she started to self harm and even considered suicide.
At 16, Harnaam decided that it was time to turn her life around. Once baptised as a sikh, she stopped cutting her beard in order to keep her body intact as God had given it to her. ‘I’d had enough of people bullying me,’ she says defiantly.
Her mum and dad were at first concerned that by being a bearded lady she’d be giving up a life as a ‘normal girl’. It would be harder for her now to get married or find a job. But Harnaam has found solace in her brother Gurdeep, and best friend Surrinder.
‘As long as she’s happy, that’s all I really care about,’ says Gurdeep.
Surrinder adds: ‘Having the beard’s given Harnaam the strength to be who she wants to be.’
Harnaam has received dozens of messages from male and female admirers worldwide proclaiming their love and support for her beard. ‘One guy saw my picture and he goes to me, “Will you marry me?”’ she laughs.
Now 23, Harnaam is feeling happier and more feminine than ever, asserting that, ‘This is who I am, I’m different and I’ve learned to accept it fully.’