It is common knowledge that a circus is not complete without a ‘bearded woman’. Meet Dakota Cook, she has a hormonal-based medical condition that causes her to grow a full beard. She has decided to ditch her razor, and is making the most of her body. She is now happily working as a Sideshow performer in a circus in Las Vegas. There she performs in her own show as The Bearded Lady.
The bearded woman, Dakota Cooke, first became aware of her facial hair when she was 13 years old as she made her way into puberty. She was growing light and fluffy hairs at first, but they later became much darker and grew longer. “When I hit puberty at 13, I guess I got hit with a little bit extra,” said Dakota. “It started out with peach fuzz on my face that started to get longer and dark.”
After a family friend made her parents aware of it, her stepfather took her to get her very first facial hair wax done at a salon. “A friend of the family pointed it out at the time, so my step dad took me to the doctors to do tests, and then took me to the hair salon where I had my first ever wax,” said Dakota. “It was super uncomfortable, and at the time, I was just about learning how to shave my legs.“
Dakota always felt insecure about her facial hair, especially because of the generation she was born into. She said: “I grew up in a period where women with facial hair was so stigmatized that the women at the salon were telling me how girls aren’t supposed to grow facial hair.“
So, Dakota’s life became a routine of waxing her facial hair. Dakota said: “I guess that stuck with me, because for the next ten years, I kind of just sunk into this shame spiral where I’d try and hide my face in photos and be attending waxing sessions every week.”
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She ditched the razor!
Dakota found it hard when she started working after high school. The expectations of society made her feel like she had to shave twice a day. Just to fit in at work. “It got to a point, when I worked one of my first jobs in retail that I was shaving my face twice a day.” said the bearded woman. “Once in the morning and then on my break because the hairs were just so visible. And I was working in the makeup department where it wasn’t acceptable to be anything other than a stereotypical woman.”
Finally, in 2015, Dakota got wrapped up in a conversation with a friend at a party. Her mate was telling her about the fun she has working at the circus. “I was at a party with my friend, Sunshine, 35,” said Dakota. “And, she was telling me all of these wonderful stories about what it was like working at the circus, and I just loved the idea of it all.”
Dakota told Sunshine that she wished she had the courage to just grow out her beard and work at the circus with her. To which her friend replied: “Why don’t you?”
Bearded woman now works as a circus performer
It took some time for Dakota to learn to shoulder the stares without them bothering her. The growing of her beard was not very comfortable at first, after all the years of shaving. However, she got used to the facial hair, and the stares eventually.
“Growing my beard out was quite uncomfortable at first,“said Dakota. “It took a lot of effort not to just cut and shave it off again. I remember the first time someone tried to take a picture of me after I’d had my first inch of growth, and I got plenty of stares. I had a lot of anxiety about the staring at first, but it got to a point where I just decided not to care anymore.”
Dakota is now confidently working at a circus. She has her own show where performs as the Bearded Woman. During which, she does daring stunts like walking on glass, and hammering nails into her own nose. “My family and friends have been super supportive throughout my journey of self-acceptance,” said Dakota. “And have even bought me a “don’t f*** with the bearded lady sign which I love.”
Keep Reading: Woman Who Started Growing Beard Aged 15 Is Embracing Life With Facial Hair
- “Woman, 30, who shaved her face twice a day since the age of 13 says embracing a full beard has made her feel sexier than ever.” Daily Mail. Claire Toureille. August 9, 2022.
- “‘I feel sexier than ever after ditching the razor and embracing my beard’” Metro. Ellen Scott. August 6, 2022.
- “Woman decides to fully embrace her facial hair and grow a beard.” Unilad. Gabriella Ferlita. August 8,2022