Harnaam Kaur talks: Body hair and body confidence
Harnaam Kaur, model, anti-bullying activist and life coach, learnt at an early age that people - society - can be cruel to those who don't fit our idea of 'normal'.
She's worked to develop her own body confidence over the years, and in this article Harnaam answers our questions about body hair and body confidence, talks about the trials of growing up with facial hair and discusses how, when and why she eventually found self-acceptance and became the positive role model she is today.
Harnaam answers our questions on body hair and body confidence:
When did you become comfortable with your body hair?
I can’t give you a specific date of when I actually became confident with my body hair. I was 16 when I grew out my beard and it’s been a journey of acceptance. I’m more confident in myself than I was before.
I feel like people will reject me or find me unattractive if I don’t remove the hair on my legs. What do you think about this?
First of all you need to be able to create a relationship with you and your body, First, stop thinking about how other people will judge you, or of other people’s opinions. Find self-love for you first and just embrace who you are.
You’re trying to find comfort through other people’s opinions... Let it grow if you want to. You should be happy with your body, you don’t need to make other people happy. Just be happy. Let it grow.
Do you ever have days where you are tempted to shave or remove your body hair?
I will not go back on my decision on keeping my beard. I live by ‘my body my rules’ and I will adorn my body how I wish to. If I do decide to shave, that’s my decision. If I don’t want to, that’s also my decision.
How do you deal with bullies and trolls?
The way that I deal with haters and bullies is to live my life for me and make myself happy. I’m not about to be let down by people, be put down by people... and I’m happy with the way that I am. People need to change, not me.
What’s the best way to approach relationships when you have excess body hair?
The way in which you approach a relationship if you’re growing bodily hair is don’t compromise yourself. You don’t need to. You should be enough for that person. If they like you, they like you. If they don’t they don’t, move on.
What’s your favourite thing about your beard?
A few of the best things that I love about my beard is that she’s so shiny, she’s hella soft and I love that she has her own personality - she grows in different ways, she curls in different places and probably the length as well.
Do you have any role models?
I don’t actually have any role models. I try to take influence and inspiration from different people, different cultures and the lives of different people and their stories. So I don’t look up to one person apart from the girl that’s looking back at me in the mirror.
What is a message you’d like to give to society regarding women and body hair?
One thing that this society needs to realise about women is that we do grow bodily hair. It’s hair, get over it! And don’t be so naive that you don’t think that we sprout armpit hair, ‘cause we do.
You should be happy with your body, you don’t need to make other people happy. Just be happy.
Where to find support
If you have concerns about your body image and feel it may be affecting your physical or mental health, speak to your GP or a health professional who can put you in contact with the right people to help. The support can be life-changing.
It is always good to speak to someone you trust about the issues you might be facing, no matter how big or small. Although it can be hard talking about mental health, everyone finds it challenging at times. If you are experiencing difficulties, don’t feel ashamed or different, and don’t feel you have to hide away from it.