What makes Harnaam Kaur a Global Shaker?
Harnaam Kaur is a British model, anti-bullying activist, body positive activist, life coach, and motivational speaker.
At the age of 12, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes an imbalance of hormones in the body. One of the illnesses symptoms is hirsutism — the ability to grow excess face and body hair. Harnaam developed a full beard which was the cause of much bullying and harassment from her peers and passers-by.
Initially, she attempted to remove the hair, but when she was baptized as a Sikh at 16, she decided to adhere to the traditional Sikh tenet against hair removal. Her parents opposed her decision, concerned about her ability to live a normal life.
Harnaam however, was determined to be herself and not live with the shame and stigma bought by her illness. “I wanted to make my own decisions and live for myself – not anyone else. I’d had enough of hiding. I’d had enough of the bullying and the self-harming and the suicidal thoughts. I wanted to change my whole outlook on life,” she told the Huffington Post.
After making this decision she claimed that her self-confidence soared and sees her beard as “a blessing.”
Before Harnaam became known to the media, she worked as a primary school teacher. Then in 2014, she started giving public interviews and became a full-time public figure, freelance model and motivational speaker.
In 2015, photographer Mr Elbank included a photo of Kaur in his exhibit at Somerset House in London, which featured portraits of over 80 bearded people. In March 2016, Kaur became the first woman with a beard to walk at London Fashion Week opening designer Marianna Harutunian’s show.
In September 2016, Kaur was included in the Guinness World Records as the youngest woman in the world in ownership of a full beard. Her record citation read: “Now with a beard measuring as long as six inches in places, she overcame years of bullying to take ownership of her appearance and achieve this record title at the age of 24 years 282 days.”
In 2017, Kaur contributed to panel discussions in the House of Parliament on topics relating to mental health, body image, cyberbullying, LGBTQIA and how social media, businesses, schools, and the government can help with the development of positive body images.
Kaur uses her social channels to contribute to numerous campaigns, including the “Eff Your Beauty Standards” campaign founded by Tess Holliday.Tags: Body Positivity