It’s no secret that the borough of Brooklyn is home to some pretty eclectic styles of facial hair. Given this widespread reputation, Kings Theatre was a seemingly logical destination for the 2015 National Beard and Moustache Championship held this past Saturday.
Yes, it’s really a thing. Men from around the globe gathered to take part in the massive, pageant-like event, with contestants competing for facial hair bragging rights in 18 different categories. The categories ranged between mustaches, partial beards, and full beards. The styles ranged from short and slender, to intricately sculpted beards that even Michaelangelo might have difficulty replicating. There was a judging panel in charge of scoring the entrants.
Preparing for the competition is no easy task and requires about as much dedication and commitment as a marriage. Ok, maybe that’s not exactly true. But some off these guys actually do have facial that that’s lasted longer than some couples’ wedding vows. For many of them, it’s taken about four years or so to grow their style of choice, with lots of care and meticulous grooming along the way. Others have made a much more lengthy investment, taking 15 or more years to reach their personal goal. On the big day itself, many of Saturday’s competitors required several hours (yes, you read that correctly, hours) of prep time backstage to comb and wax their way to facial hair perfection. Personally, I find that very impressive, considering I would never have the patience to spend that much time getting ready for a single event.
Some of the men were in their 20s, others were over the age of 70. Their occupations were all across the spectrum, from stylist to UPS driver. While it was a rather large sampling of individuals of all walks of life, it was very clear they each had a strong sense of pride in their facial adornments. Many contestants competed in costumes of some sort to further accentuate their chosen style, ranging from the fashionably casual to metal-studded armor and even getups that would have Lady Gaga green with envy.
The costume isn’t all – presentation counts, too. Some competitors strolled out with a cocktail in hand, as if it was a fashion accessory. Others took it a step further, as if they had plotted out an entire act of a Broadway show. One guy took the stage putting forth his best van Gogh impression, a bandage wrapped around his ears while he clutched a pad of paintings he had made of various contestants at the show that day … impressive.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed on that stage at Kings Theatre this past Saturday. Some of the facial hairstyles were beyond anything I could have ever imagined, with one contestant sporting a facial hair birdcage attached to his beard (I’m not joking). The competitors were frequently spotted posing for selfies with each other and overheard sharing stories from their personal preparation process. These certainly were not your average ‘staches and beards. These guys are serious pros with a highly evident love for their facial hair and brought quite the show to Brooklyn.
Article: Nicole Shyti