Harnaam Kaur, Queen of beards

A portrait of Harnaam Kaur, who beat bullying and depression to become an advocate for positive body image

Harnaam Kaur tried for years to rid herself of the dark facial hair that began appearing when she was 11 – the result of hormonal condition polycystic ovary syndrome. But following a personal revelation at perhaps the unlikely age of 16, Harnaam learned to embrace her beard and has worn it proudly since. Now 24, Harnaam is a vocal and charismatic advocate for positive body image and women’s empowerment. Earlier this year, she opened the Marianna Harutunian Royal Fashion Day catwalk in London, and took part in supermodel Tess Holliday’s #effyourbeautystandards campaign.

Here, she is captured by photographer Brock Elbank as part of his Project 60 exhibition, with beards from around the world. It seeks to raise awareness and funds for his friend’s melanoma charity, Beard Season. Harnaam is the only woman in the exhibition, and featured as the Queen of Hearts in a pack of picture playing cards sold to raise funds for the cause. Elbank describes the project as an 18 month-long “labour of love”. Project 60 was exhibited at Somerset House, London, the Michael Reid Galleries in Sydney and Berlin and the Regional Museum in Kristianstad, Sweden.


Photography by Brock Elbank