Harnaam Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which meant she started growing a beard from aged 11. Battling to remove her hair every day, and bullied at school, she started to self harm and considered suicide. Harnaam is now a body-confidence and anti-bullying activist and she fully embraces her unique look and hopes to encourage others to do the same. So when this bridal shoot using Harnaam as the model was submitted to me I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement!
“I am a British born female living in Slough”, Harnaam told me. “I am a little different from other women. “I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries from a really young age, around the time I hit puberty. PCOS is a condition in which there is an imbalance in hormones within the female body, this has led me to have more male hormones then female ones, and it is also the reason to why I have a beard. I used to have my face waxed 2 to 3 times a week, and on the days I couldn’t bare the pain I would simply shave.”
“I had a great upbringing and a really happy family life but I was severely bullied all the way through school, starting from nursery right through to my late secondary school days. I even got beaten up a few times. I became very aggressively suicidal and I even resorted to self harm.”
“At the age of 16 I hit my biggest low. I had been suicidal all year due to immense bullying from school and people in society. I hid away and did not want to venture out into the public. My bedroom was my only safe haven. I was hugely depressed. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking about taking my own life. But instead, as I sat there, I started to counsel myself. I told myself ‘The energy you are putting into ending your life, put all that energy into turning your life around and doing something better’.”
“At that point I decided I wanted to be me. I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like. Today I am not suicidal and I do not self harm. Today I am happy living as a young beautiful bearded woman. I have realised that this body is mine, I own it, I do not have any other body to live in so I may as well love it unconditionally.”
Wanting to do something different to the vintage-loving crowd, wedding photographer June Cochran opted to have her latest project shot inside, at night and with a warm cosy vibe. This idea but juxtaposed nicely with bright pops of colour and daring and edgy flower arrangements. “Pretty much every single stylized wedding shoot I’ve seen is at magic hour, outdoors in a field, and as vintage and pastel as it gets”, she writes. “That’s beautiful, but I wanted to shake it up and push it out it the box.”
“With the help of some amazing Colorado wedding vendors, we created a beautiful and modern idea for brides that rock. We were first inspired by an outdoor reception shot of a table with candles and brightly colored floral centerpieces. The theme took off from there by stepping outside of the typical outdoor, pastel palette, sunset, vintage style wedding shoots.”
“Our over arching theme was an Indoor night-time forest wedding with our base foundation being our venue, the romantic and highly popular Denver restaurant, Beatrice & Woodsley. This idea turned into reality and even included a custom designed wedding dress, made for just $100! This shoot was anything but typical, and everything magical.”