London, July 2: She has been singlehandedly challenging all conventional notions of not just beauty but also empowerment and gender socialization. She has fought innumerous battles with herself and her demons and emerged victorious by embracing herself and her body. She is the epitome of inner beauty and confidence. The stunning pictures of the beautiful Harnaam Kaur in a bridal dress reflect all that and more.

Young Harnaam had a troubled childhood in UK, whilst she suffered insults and bullying right from kindergarten and all through high school. The reason- facial hair. Kaur has Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes hormonal imbalance in the body and unnaturally high growth of hair on the body. “I started to wax my facial hair, tweeze it off, thread it off,” she says. “I shaved every day and I even used hair removing creams. My skin became very rough, I was left with scabs, and parts of my skin were torn off when I was waxing,” she told People Magazine. This led to severe depression, which then led to self harm, and she eventually considered suicide. Read: Harnaam Kaur: The beautiful story of a woman with a beard

But an epiphany at the age of 16, lead her to transform herself and turn all the negativity into positive energy and “grasp hold of” her life. The beard stayed. “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’. I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like”, she said.

She exemplifies that the societal notions of beauty and good looks are shallow and serves to prove that there’s no one definition of beauty. She personifies courage and self confidence as is evident from the pictures themselves. Harnaam is now a body-confidence and anti-bullying activist, encouraging everyone to do what she did– to embrace and celebrate themselves exactly as they are.

The pictures are by British photographer  Louisa Coulthurst, who was  very impressed by Harnaam’s confidence and feisty nature and consequently asked her to model for the shoot, to be published on her website Urban Bridesmaid. Kaur leapt at the opportunity. Wearing makeup, a white lace wedding dress and bright flowers in her hair, this is a woman who wholly embraces her femininity. “We are all imperfectly perfect,” she says. “I wanted to show society that beauty isn’t just about looking a certain way, we are all so different and we should all celebrate our individuality.”

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