Harnaam Kaur is changing what it means to be beautiful, and it's not because she has #eyebrownsonfleek and creative nail art. It's because of her empowering words (and her beard) that the 24-year-old is making waves across social media.
Born with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder that causes a woman to have more male hormones than female ones, Harnaam started growing a beard at 11. "I used to have my face waxed 2 to 3 times a week, and on the days I couldn't bare the pain I would simply shave," she told Rock n Roll Bride.
As a young child, Harnaam was bullied because of her facial hair, and the negative pressures from society were so intense she even thought about taking her own life. At one point, however, she realized the energy she put into these thoughts should be redirected into more positive outcomes. "I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society's expectations of what a woman should look like," she said.
Harnaam has since embraced her identity and accepted her facial hair as part of who she is. She calls herself "The Bearded Dame" on Instagram and on her own arm ink. She recently participated in a bridal photo shoot featuring her beard to show that there is no one standard definition of beauty.
"My beard has 100% become a part of my body. It is the source of my strength and confidence," she said. "I keep my hair to show the world a different, confident, diverse and strong image of a woman. . . . I look at it and is it a sign to me that we are all different and none of us are born the same."
She even penned a letter to her younger self as part of Illamasqua's Letter to Little Me campaign. Though she may have written to herself, everyone can learn from her inspiring essay. Harnaam tells herself to be fearless, because the world would hear her story. "You will grow up to be a gorgeous young woman who will shake the normal societal standards of beauty," she explained. "You will show people what beauty truly is." Read on to see more incredible photos from the shoot.