Look about; beards are everywhere. Even our favorite, once clean-shaven actors have taken to the fuzzier face. The straight hipster guys are almost impossible to tell apart from the tattooed bearded bears in the Castro or Silverlake. The shaving companies are constantly trying to tell us ‘clean shaven’ is back whilst the evidence is that guys have abandoned the razor for trendy beard oils. Recently, after Internet stories infiltrated our social media that ‘beards are out,’ flocks of light-weight, scruff-faced trendies took to the razor thinking beards were ‘so yesterday.’ Within weeks, we slowly saw the deserters growing back their trusty beard because, after all, we all look that little bit more masculine with some facial fuzz.
Having recently transitioned from a ‘Dali style’ curly mustache to a full beard, I was aware I was influenced by full-bearded men and their Instagram pages. Once you follow one, you are sucked into a world of beards and their grooming products; scrutinizing whose is thicker, longer and fuller and before you know it you are ordering beard brushes and cinnamon spiced beard products.
Welcome to world of pogonophilia! (pogonophile: an admirer/student of beards.)
Psychologists have proven that women tend to like their men with facial hair. In a study, the female of the species were exposed to images of males with and without a beard. Nearly all the women preferred the man in his more caveman-like state.
In history, the Mesopotamian men used fancy potions and hot irons to fashion elaborate designs in their beards whilst the greeks regarded the beard as a sign of virility. In ancient India, it was regarded as a sign of wisdom and dignity. It wasn’t until the Romans introduced the barber that shaving became popular, where a man’s first shave was regarded as the beginning of his manhood. In the 2nd century, the Romans once again took to the beard with the renascence of all things greek. Wanting to hide scars on his face, Hadrian sported the full beard thus bringing the beard full circle.
Since those times, religion and fashion have played a part in the beard’s popularity. In the 19th century, most historical male figures were portrayed with hair somewhere on their face in varying styles and lengths. Clean-shaven was seen as effeminate with Oscar Wilde, the epitome of the limp-wristed, smooth-faced socialite of his day.
The 60’s saw it’s association with the hippie movement. The 70’s, porn chic and the 80’s, two-day stubble look made popular by George Michael’s ‘Faith’ phase. More recently Gay Culture has seen the beard grow from the porn stache with some stubble, to the fuller beard we are seeing today. It’s a staple for the bear. Even the ‘twink’ lined streets of WeHo are seeing fresh faces turn all ‘Conchita Wurst!’ From the curly mustache to the hipster beard, catwalks are using our bearded brothers and designers are choosing guys with a full-on furry face in their campaigns. Like it or not, the beard is going to be around for a while longer, yet, it could even be here to stay.
Male models with facial hair are becoming more and more in demand. With the likes of Kenneth Brain, Levi Stocke, Luke Ditella, Ricky Hall and Jimmy Niggles reigning supreme over their Instagram fans, delighting us with ‘selfies’ of their bearded adventures. I recently had the chance to shoot LA’s new beard in town and upcoming Instagram star, Gregory Broome. Having worked recently for ‘American Crew’ and the new face of grooming line Das Boom, Gregory is tipped as the next bearded sensation. An actor, model and a strong advocate for equality and acceptance, Mr. Broome lives up to his magnificent facial hair and is every ‘bearded inch’ the gentlemen. Before the shoot, whilst getting his groom on, we had the chance to chat, swap beard tips and generally do some beard bonding.
At 6’4’’ and that impressive beard, you must get stared at (a lot) in Trader Joe’s? I am approached and cat-called more than stared at. The bearded lifestyle has gifted me with the ultimate conversation starter! “I love your beard” and “Great beard, man!” are as common as “How are you?” and a hike on Runyon Canyon.
How did you get your break into modeling? Where was your beard ‘spotted?’ I dedicated nine months to growing a beard in 2013, aka ‘Full Term,’ in honor of my Mother and women around the world. Come February of 2014, I had shot some photos for a friend and fellow dreamer, Chris Bordeaux (clouiscreative.com), that was later named “Gregory Broome; The Man and The Beard.” It was the first time I saw my name associated with facial hair. In the weeks and months following, I was fortunate enough to shoot with some amazing artists/photographers! I refer to the beginning of my introduction into the world of modeling as “A Happy Accident.”
How is LA treating you? Los Angeles is the world’s most insane roller coaster. A diamond hurricane. A romantic, comedic tragedy. The One you can’t help but fall in love with! It is a fountain of truth that is overflowing with opportunity and truly lives up to its name as the City of Angels. I’ve been met with failure and triumph alike! Consider me smitten!
What was it like working with Jimmy Niggles and Luke Ditella? It was surreal to shoot with Luke and Jimmy for American Crew. I had been inspired by these two legendary beards for well over ten months. To end up on set with them was amongst the first realizations of a dream I had believed in since I was a child. A beardless child.
Who’s your beardspiration? YOU! (snarky laugh) – Kenny Brain, Brr Rogers, Santa Claus, Leonardo da Vinci and every man that has pushed past week number three in the growing phase, without giving up. All beards are unique.
Tell us about your connection with ‘Das Boom’? Jonathan Dubuque, the CEO, is a bad ass businessman who took a chance on a bearded man with ambition. It all started with a Facebook message and the kindness of a stranger. Fate took over from there and today I am a part of the team launching ‘das boom. industries.’
Would you shave off your beard for an assignment? What would be your price? No plans, or even thoughts, of shaving the beard. After all, would we even be talking if I were beardless? My instincts say ‘No.’ – It’s more than just being a hair farmer. It is the interactions, the dedication and the shameless, reckless amounts of FUN that come with a “Bearded Man” lifestyle. That being said, I am a huge fan of the Non-Profit Organization ‘Living with Wolves’ – Any serious inquiry/offer would be strongly considered with the intent of raising awareness for their cause.
Whats next for Gregory Broome? Magic lies in the unknown! I’m focused on each day as it presents itself and keeping a ‘yes man’ approach to future opportunities.