Beards shaped like ships; goatees that actually look like goats; and moustaches twizzled to the length of football fields. We’ve all seen those spectacular photos from the World Beard & Moustache Championships – this year’s event is in Austin, Texas – but what’s it like to participate in these hair-raising Olympics?
Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Moustache won the Musketeer Category at the 2015 contest in Leogang, Austria. Victory, he recalls, was a nerve-wracking affair.
“Instead of the usual cartoonish musketeer, I wanted to be ominous and almost scary – like a kind of grim reaper,” he says, describing a detailed look that included a four-piece black suit, tall round hat and faux fox overcoat.
Alongside this highly distinctive aesthetic, keeping his cool on the day was vital. “The humid weather kept messing with my styling so I had to reshape my ‘stache less than a minute before walking-up to the judges on stage,” he says, adding that the walk itself was a sweat-triggering stress test.
“It’s your moment to shine and you have to try and do the correct walking movements while also keeping your composure. My hot, heavy clothing meant that I was drenched but I somehow powered through it!”
The self-imposed torture was worth it in the end, of course. “Afterwards, you walk off stage and wait for them to present the numbers. But my friends had been keeping track and they said I’d finished ahead of everyone in the category – I couldn't believe it!”
Jeffrey is gearing up to compete in the upcoming world championships in Austin this September. But he also has some sage advice for whiskered wannabes itching to have a go at a local, national or international facial hair contest.
Standing out from the crowd, he says, is vital. “Be unique and different but also classy: the Europeans founded this and they see it as a presentation of elegance.” The bottom line, he adds, is to be yourself and have fun. “It’s basically a pageant of showboating men and if you take it too seriously you won’t get anything out of it.”
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