The lady with a beard: how music helped guide Harnaam Kaur to self-acceptance


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Tune into Dare To Discover, our new mini-documentary series which takes a look inside the world and music tastes of some of this era’s most fascinating influencers, eccentrics, musicians and personalities.

At 26, the vivacious Harnaam Kaur holds the world record as the youngest woman to have a full beard, which appeared on her face when she was just 11 years old. Kaur has worn a full beard, a symptom of her polycystic ovaries, since she was 16 when she converted to the Sikh faith, which forbids cuttings one’s hair. But “the bearded lady” wasn’t always so comfortable with her distinctive features. Years of intense bullying drove her to contemplate suicide on several occasions, including when she was just 15. Since then the “beardo”, as she was named by her bullies, has risen above the stares, death threats and narrow-mindedness and is now a strong anti-bullying and body-confidence advocate. When Harnaam Kaur is not upending gender norms and conventional beauty standards, she and her trademark eyeliner are hugely involved in the London grime scene. Her music tastes are as strong as her convictions and have helped her embrace what sets her apart from the rest of the world. Artists such as UK rapper Vic Santoro and singer Jayana have inspired Harnaam on her musical journey, which she insists, is a very personal experience and a form of communication that transcends class, race and gender. As the bearded lady rightly puts it, “just because you look a certain way doesn’t mean you have to listen to a music that represents your look”.

Watch the interview below: