harnaam kaur close up

Harnaam Kaur (UK) first appeared in Guinness World Records 2017 as the record holder for the youngest female with a full beard.

She was aged 24 years 282 days when her record was confirmed on 7 September 2015.

She's gone on to become, among other things, a freelance model and motivational speaker, spreading her message of body positivity and acceptance. 

We recently caught up with Harnaam, now aged 30, to discuss what life is like for her day to day - and to get the scoop on how she does her amazing eyeliner!

As you would expect, Harnaam often gets asked frustrating or insensitive questions about her facial hair. When asked what she's sick of hearing, Harnaam replied: 

"It would absolutely have to be 'why do you have the beard?' Sometimes I wanna be sarcastic and be like 'well, why does your dad have a beard?'" 

"I wish people asked me more questions about personal development, you know, 'how do I add value? You found your purpose, how can I find my purpose?'"

Harnaam often tackles animosity or ignorance head-on in order to educate more people about her condition.

"That fear you have of me, there’s a question behind it that hasn't been answered and that's why you fear me or you're intimidated or you're mocking me."

"So many people struggle with the medical condition that I have. Women having facial hair is not unknown."

harnaam kaur sitting on bench

Harnaam was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when she was 12 years old, a condition that millions of people around the world have.

"So many women have facial hair and they are so disregarded because it's not 'the norm to have'. We get mocked for something that is so natural to our body."

Gender stereotypes play a big part in how she and other women with facial hair are treated, Harnaam believes. 

"It's so funny that it's ok when it's on a guy, but when it's on a women it's mocked. Why do I need to keep explaining my body? Women's bodies are so policed."

"I understand it's a shock when people first see me, but there's a lot more to people than just their physical appearance. I always use this analogy - just as this Earth grows flowers, our body grows hair."

"Physical appearance will wither away... my beard will go but my message will still stay."

Despite her strong message and no-nonsense attitude, it's taken Harnaam a long time to get to where she is today - and as she told us, self-love and acceptance is a continuous journey. 

"I used to wear tracksuits or my brother's clothes so I hid the fact I was a women, and to be honest I still sometimes do that because I don't need to deal with people and the c**p that they give me."

Harnaam kaur looking down

"People look at me and they go 'Oh she's there now.' No. God no. I've got real issues that I'm still dealing with. 

"A lot of things still trigger me to wanting to go back to that young girl that I was, where I did harm myself and things like that. Back then what I needed was someone to listen to me.

"It [the beard] does stop me from just doing regular things. Sometimes I can struggle with depression or anxiety and that does stop me from venturing out into the world."

However, a big turning point for Harnaam was when she travelled to New York City, USA.

She appeared at WorldPride NYC and spoke in front of thousands of people.  

"To look like this and to have thousands of people cheering... that was huge for me. I was like 'I can spread my message here now'".

Harnaam's message of self-love, at its core, is letting people know that whatever they are going through, they are not alone.

"You're not alone. You're struggling with bullying, you're struggling with self-esteem, lack of confidence whatever it is." 

She inspires people to embrace their beauty, whatever form it may come in.

For Harnaam, one of the positives to having her beard is that it means she only has accepting people in her life. 

"My beard allows me to have good people around me only, because I know that the people around me are very open minded, non-judgmental and loving."

Harnaam is, rightly, very proud of what she has achieved as a motivation speaker. 

"There’s so much more that I want to do, but I’m just so happy right now... The young girl that we were speaking about, she’s happy. She’s like 'wow, big sis!'"

Among her other achievements, Harnaam has been on the cover of both Cosmopolitan and Glamour

"Imagine opening a magazine, not seeing yourself in there and ten years later you’re on the front cover."

A lot has changed in the six years since Harnaam was awarded her record title, including numerous speaker slots, profiles and, of course, appearing in multiple editions of the Guinness World Records annual. 

"Guinness World Records… it’s such a powerful platform. You just open the book itself and you see all these different people with all these different achievements, all these different looks – how can you not accept the world to be diverse? Just look at it."