We’ve finally reached a place where society is capable of praising unconventional beauty. People blur the lines drawn by gender differences, racial divides and societal norms every single day—but it still takes an incredible amount of courage for someone to stand in his or her own skin without fear of scrutiny.

The ability to take the attributes that make you different and present them as beautiful is a rare gift, but it’s one that Harnaam Kaur clearly possesses in spades.

Also known as the “bearded bride,” Kaur became a viral Internet sensation when photos of the 24-year-old surfaced online. Since then, her story has been picked up by major news sites.

Kaur has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, an endocrine disorder that can cause women to sprout acne, gain weight, experience infertility and grow facial hair. She has experienced that final symptom of the disorder.

After years of hating her body and excessive facial hair growth, she now proudly sports a full beard. While doing so, she is also taking important steps to change unrealistic beauty standards by wearing her beard with pride and confidence.

With nearly 20, 000 Instagram followers, Kaur is committed to sharing her story and shattering unfair beauty standards for her supportive community. She routinely posts selfies with captions that express self-love and personal stories.

Harnaam Kaur The Bearded Dame

On one of Kaur’s photos the caption reads:

“I am pretty. Of course I am, and I tell myself everyday. Why? Well because I am and I can we get labeled with the most horrid names known to man every single day. So why can’t we label ourselves with the most amazing and perfect labels. Of course we should. 
When we hear the same negative words said about us continuously by different people we tend to start believing in them. 
So why can’t we say lovely positive words about ourselves. I tend to sometimes stand infront of my mirror, look deep into my eyes and say great things to myself. I imbed good words into my heart and and let them stick.

We should learn to love ourselves unconditionally first 100% that way when society labels you with horrid words, it won’t matter to you as you know those words aren’t true. 
Imbed positive words into your heart and soul…Negativity won’t touch you [sic.]”

According to Rock N Roll Bride, Kaur wasn’t always so accepting of her 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,” she told the site.

“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,” Kaur added. “I even got beaten up a few times. I became very aggressively suicidal and I even resorted to self harm.”

It’s no secret that South Asian women are often held to high beauty standards, but to see a woman like Kaur take such monumental steps out of the box proves that you do not need to look like a Bollywood actress in order to be deemed as beautiful.

“I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like,” she said to Rock N Roll Bride. “Today I am not suicidal and I do not self harm. Today I am happy living as a young beautiful bearded woman. I have realized 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.”