Kerala: A 30-year-old woman who started growing a beard when she was a teenager is embracing her facial hair. Dakota Cooke first noticed the abnormal hair growth on her face when she was 13 years old.
Cooke felt uncomfortable about her facial hair growth and struggled with anxiety over the same for 10 years. She went to weekly waxing appointments and shaved her facial hair twice a day. After a while, her facial hair went from being a peach fuzz to darker beard.
Cooke spoke with Daily Star and said, “I grew up in a period where women with facial hair were so stigmatised that the women at the salon were telling me how girls aren’t supposed to grow facial hair”.
The stigma stuck with Dakota Cooke over the next 10 years and she “sunk into this shame spiral”. Cooke began hiding her face in photographs and attending waxing sessions every week. The shaving often left scars and rashes on her skin, which she would cover up using makeup.
Despite undergoing several tests, doctors were unable to figure out what caused Cooke’s facial hair growth. The doctors believe that it could be caused by her adrenal glands producing elevated levels of testosterone.
In 2015, one of Cooke’s friends asked her to participate in a circus show. Cooke loved the idea of being a bearded lady and ditched shaving and waxing.
The acceptance of her facial hair was not easy and Cooke felt uncomfortable about growing her beard. Cooke said, “My family and friends have been super supportive throughout my journey of self-acceptance”.
A woman from Kerala embraced the facial hair on her upper lip and can’t imagine living without her moustache. The 35-year-old Shyja had undergone 6 surgeries in a decade and overcoming the crisis helped her realise she wanted to live life on her own terms.
Shyja said, “I’ve never felt that I’m not beautiful because I have this or that it’s something I shouldn’t have”.
Speaking about the criticism she received from people, Shyja said, “I just do what I like, If I had two lives, maybe I’d live one for others”.