A bearded lady is a woman with a visible beard. Though such women have long been looked at as a topic of curiosity and ridicule, there were and are many famous women, who preferred growing a beard and maintained it with confidence and pride, in spite of all social taboos.
In normal cases, women have less or no facial hair. Growing a beard is a rare characteristic for women and only a small number of women are able to do it. A bearded lady may have a hormonal imbalance, the commonest type being excessive androgen (male hormone). One of the causes of facial hair growth in women may also be a rare genetic disorder, called hypertrichosis. Another cause may be the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids.
A bearded lady has long been considered as a social stigma, because of which ladies have to remove their beards.
Noted Bearded Ladies
Josephine Clofullia – Josephine Clofullia was a bearded lady born in Switzerland in 1827 and toured with the American Museum of P.T. Barnum. She had a two-inch beard right from the age of eight. She also imitated the beard of Napoleon II for which she gained a diamond from the emperor and an extraordinary fame.
Helena Antonia – This bearded lady was born in Liege and was a court dwarf of the Holy Roman Empress – Maria of Austria and, and a favorite of the Queen of Spain – Margaret of Austria. She was also a lady-in-waiting for the Constance of Austria.
Julia Pastrana – Julia Pastrana is a bearded lady born in 1834 in Mexico and took part in the 19th century exhibition tours in Europe and North America.
Jane Barnell – Jane Barnell was an American bearded lady born in 1871 and used a stage name Lady Olga. She toured with a number of circuses and acted in many films.
Annie Jones – Annie Jones was an American bearded lady who toured as a circus attraction with P.T. Barnum.
Jennifer Miller – Jennifer Miller is a bearded lady born in 1961 and is an American circus attraction, a juggler, a fire-eater, a writer and a professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
Harnaam Kaur – Harnaam Kaur is a young bearded lady born in 1991 in India who is famous for the courage she has shown in growing a beard, despite getting death threats from strangers, and a lot of social cruelty in form of taunts and ridicule. She has determined to grow the beard because she says that she likes the way she is and actually feels more feminine with her beard.