Model makes history by being the first 'bearded woman' on the runway

Mar 2, 2016 at 11:50 p.m. ET

Ashley Graham made history in February by becoming the first plus-size model to make it on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That is absolutely amazing, but she's not the only "non-traditional" model making history.

Harnaam Kaur was the first woman to walk a major runway with a full beard. The British woman — who suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome — started growing facial hair at age 11, thanks to a hormonal imbalance common with the illness. She kept up with hair removal until deciding to embrace her natural state at age 16.

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She's faced plenty of criticism in the years since.

"I always wanted to be like the pretty models… I grew up being told that I was fat, ugly, and disgusting to even model. I was told I’d never walk the runway," she wrote on Instagram last week.

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But jokes on them: Last week, she became the first bearded woman to walk in jewelry designer Marianna Harutunian's fashion show. "Walking the runway was incredibly liberating. I finally had my chance to show people my confidence and my ‘stick it to the norms of beauty’ attitude. I knew that people in the audience would either look at me in shock and surprise," Kaur told BuzzFeed.

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And she killed it. Her self-assured strut is one we can all learn from — but she admitted it took practice to get there.

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"During my lowest points of walking in public, I used to mentally prepare myself to be and look confident. ‘Harnaam, walk every path as if it were your life’s runway,’ and that is exactly what I did," she told BuzzFeed of the criticism she's faced.

It might have been her first show, but it definitely won't be her last.

"It is just amazing that I actually had the opportunity to walk the runway as the first bearded lady," she said. "I will walk many more runways for designers."

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