A bearded woman is embracing her facial hair after spending years being the target of trolls – and vows to never shave.
LaRae Perkins, 40, from California, US, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 12.
The condition that affects the ovaries causes irregular periods and produces too much of the ‘male’ hormone androgen – hence the extra hair.
Unfortunately, LaRae’s diagnosis did not make her childhood an easy ride.
Cruel bullies would question whether she was a man or woman. “What are you?”, some would even jibe.
At the point of her diagnosis, LaRae felt “alone” and “embarrassed”.
Website Designing/Management/Social Media – Iyanu Victor
But, that has all changed now since learning to love her hirsutism – the excessive hair growth on women.
LaRae has now launched a body positive clothing brand to help other bearded woman feel empowered, with the slogan ‘Yes, I’m a girl’ in her designs.
She explained: “I have embraced my hirsutism by learning to love myself despite what others may think or have comments about and I want to lead by example for others.
Certified French Tutor in Nigeria with Years of Experience – Ms Blessing Akpan
“I would be a hypocrite if I had not learned to love myself first.”
The American has had hair on her face her whole life, with thick sideburns that connected to the back of her hair line visible from a young age.
She continued: ‘”The only thing mentioned at the time was that I had a higher percentage of male hormones known as androgen than most women. All women have androgen.
“[When I started having] irregular menstrual cycles, that is how [I was diagnosed], my body was struggling to start a period. I had to be put on birth control pills to regulate it.”
However, LaRae does not ‘treat’ her PCOS or tend to her hirsutism as she does not “agree” with treatments offered to her.
The fashion designer said: “Treatments include laser hair removal, waxing, and shaving. I love my face and skin too much to destroy it or cause more issues by trying to remove something that will never go away and I have no control over.
“I will never shave because I love my face and don’t want to cause more issues than just having a beard, my appearance is important to me and having skin that has dark marks, pigmentation, or even razor bumps would make me sad and feel less beautiful.
“I took the chance by standing out and using my voice to bring awareness and respect to all women with facial hair.
Despite being confident in herself, people have not been too kind to LaRae about her looks.
She admitted: “Nothing hurts more than being asked, “What are you?” I had to grow a tough skin over the years, causing me to make myself choose happiness over ignorance. DailyStar reports.
“The internet can be cruel but I am hoping my journey inspires other to embrace who they are.
“I had to begin loving the person I see in the mirror, telling her she is beautiful everyday and it doesn’t matter what clothes I choose to wear. I’m still that beautiful being I’m looking at.”
In the face of adversity, LaRae is now hoping that she can inspire other women who have PCOS and hirsutism to accept who they are.
“We ‘bearded women’ are not normal but we are human. You must love yourself, flaws and all, to be respected or you will just be a person hiding and trying to fit in this non perfect world.
“It has been the greatest journey and I am so glad I did it and if because of me even one woman feels she can embrace her natural self then I will have something to be proud of, it will have been worth it.”