By Hannah Phillips
A woman who spent more than 20 years shaving her stubble his embracing life as a bearded lady – by BEATING blokes in beard competitions.
Rose Geil, 42, previously gained international recognition for her fulsome facial hair but recently began competing as the only female in all-male beard championships – recently placing 6th out of 107 contestants.
The dog walker, from Oregon, US, began shaving aged 13, after she began noticing face and chest hair, and was sometimes forced to shave twice per day.
Aged 38, Rose decided it was time to let nature take its course by ditching the razor and teaching herself some ‘serious self-love’.
Four years later, and Rose is giving male beard enthusiasts a run for their money by taking part in beard competitions, travelling around the world exhibiting her impressive facial hair.
Rose said: “I saw an ad on Facebook for a competition in Portland.
“My friends encouraged me to go and I just thought wouldn’t it be fun to come and beat all those men.
“I’m the only woman with a natural beard competing so I’m always a crowd favourite.
“But unfortunately while I do happen to have a spectacular and full beard, my moustache doesn’t keep up with the guys.”
Despite earning her place in the competition, Rose said she is still the subject of cruel comments and abuse and is regularly mistaken for a man.
She said: “It’s a really supportive community. When there is an issue, I have a lot of back up. Men do get in my face asking why I’m in a dress.
“I get trouble in the car park, when I use women’s bathrooms.
“Sometimes it makes me stay home because I don’t want to deal with people. I’m never just another person going to the shop. I’m constantly misgendered.
“It takes people a while to accept that I’m a woman. People look for something in my pants that isn’t there. It embarrasses me.
“If I didn’t have my beard that wouldn’t happen. There are a lot of negatives to having the beard but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.”
Single Rose kept her hair growth a secret when she was at school, secretly shaving twice a day and carrying a razor around in her handbag.
She said: “It kept me from participating in school, having sleepovers and going camping – I was really hesitant.
“I didn’t know what to do until I picked up a razor one day.
“I kept it hidden, it was easier when I was in school. A lot of my school friends didn’t realise the extent and how often I was shaving.
“Only my close lovers had a clue until I grew the beard.
Really embarrassed to my very core to stop shaving.
“It took me about five days of not shaving, serious self love and looking in the mirror, saying ‘I am not hideous and disgusting and it actually suits me’
“I had to look myself in the eye and say nice things, then I felt so much better not scraping and shaving my skin.
“Now, my showers have gone from 20minutes to seven minutes and I can’t imagine my life without my beard.
“I can’t even imagine how much money I spent on razors in my life.”
The cause of Rose’s excessive hair growth remains a mystery.
Some women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are likely to grow excess hair but Rose said although she has symptoms of the condition, she hasn’t been diagnosed by doctors.
Rose says she sees her new bearded friends as family and a community of support she didn’t have before she began competing.
And she is hoping to soon reach the top spot in a ‘full beard natural’ contest.
Rose said: “We all go to the same competitions and travel around together so we’re all friends.
“When we’re getting ready to go on stage, all the guys are keeping it to themselves and I’m bouncing around full of energy.
“I don’t do anything to my beard, I just let it grow but I have just begun styling it into crazy designs and I’m getting braver.
“I’m getting a lot of support – all the guys give me high fives. It’s a community I didn’t have before and it gives us something to focus on.”