By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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Videographer / Director: Ivan Gwynn
Producer: Emma Pearson, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal, Ian Phillips
Rose Geil, 39, first noticed her excess hair when she was just 13-years-old and started shaving immediately.
The devastated teenager, from Oregon, America, quickly realised she would have to shave every day to keep the stubble at bay.
But after years of shaving, plucking and expensive laser removal procedures, Rose has now decided to accept her whiskers – and couldn’t be happier.
She said: “Growing my beard has made me more confident.
“I feel pretty with my beard, and I never felt pretty before.
“It feels amazing being me.”
Rose first noticed hairs sprout in her sideburns when she reached puberty.
Soon hairs began appearing on her chin, upper lip and cheeks and Rose would have to wake at the crack of dawn to remove the evidence.
Her condition took a toll on her confidence and her social life; Rose refused to attend sleepovers, as she would wake up with stubble on her face.
She said: “I was a little bit of an outcast at my school, I didn’t fit in, I didn’t wear the right clothes and makeup.
“My friends did not know, I hid it very well.
“It was exhausting trying to keep it hidden.
“I didn’t realise the emotional impact until I was older. I just thought it was regular teen angst when I was young.”
While she tried to hide it from her friends and family eventually Rose’s mother caught sight of her stubble one Saturday morning when she had forgotten to shave.
But instead of getting the support she wanted, Rose’s family decided not to discuss it.
Rose said: “I don’t think my parents knew how to support me when they found out about my shaving.
“My mum and I had a brief conversation about needing to stop shaving but of course I knew by then I couldn’t. I knew I would never be able to stop.
“My mum was supportive enough and took me to see a doctor and I was placed on birth control pills and other medication but it wasn’t really effective.”
While she hasn’t been officially diagnosed, Rose believes her hairiness is due to a combination of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and genetics.
Throughout her teenage years and twenties Rose was so ashamed of her hair she wore long sleeves and high turtlenecks to hide the fuzz on her chest and arms.
Expensive laser hair removal procedures were ineffective – and painful.
And in order to have relationships with men Rose had to overcome the hurdle of showing her body hair to her partners.
She said: “Revealing my body hair in any relationship was of course very scary and difficult and I was lucky enough and had some understanding partners in my early twenties.
“It was more of an issue for me just being self conscious and worrying about revealing myself and facing rejection.”
But while her partners, friends and family were accepting of her fuzziness, Rose soon realised her biggest enemy was herself.
Every day she would dread having to shave her body hair and there were periods where she refused to leave the house.
But finally eight months ago Rose ditched the razors for good.
She said: “I was emotionally drained from trying to hide my beard every day and feeling like I was failing miserably.
“Growing my beard was an incredible experience. It was very difficult, daily emotionally and physically in the beginning because it was very uncomfortable, itchy and crawly.
“I had to fight the urge to shave.”
But after six weeks Rose sported a full beard and had grown to love it.
And her friends and family were fans too.
She said: “All of my friends and family are incredibly supportive - they really had no idea how much I struggled and how much it was affecting me.
“People on the street do look at me and do a double take, but their reactions are either positive or neutral.
“I have had people approach me in public and wanted to meet me and shake my hand and tell me I'm brave and courageous and even an inspiration.”
But the strongest reaction is online, where Rose’s Instagram account has found hundreds of admirers.
Rose said: “Some of them get a little carried away, marriage proposals, offering plane tickets to come visit, inappropriate pictures you name it.”
And Rose has even had requests to sell her pictures – which she hasn’t ruled out.
She added: “I have no shame with my body, I appreciate my decorations and it feels nice to make people feel good.”
Since binning her razors Rose has not looked back, and would not dream of shaving her beard off.
She even claims she feels more feminine with her body hair, shunning her turtlenecks for skirts and low cut tops to show off her hairy cleavage.
She said: “I definitely feel womanly, sexy and sensuous. I feel more feminine and it has very little to do with my appearance it comes from my attitude and giving myself the freedom to be who I am.
“I’ve finally accepted the real me.”