For seven years, Alma Torres struggled with the impossibly debilitating effects of a society that defines beauty by impossibly narrow standards.
When she was 16 years old, Torres was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a rare genetic condition that affects a woman’s hormones. In addition to many painful symptoms, the syndrome causes her to grow extra hair on her face, back and chest.
She spent years trying to hide her condition with plucking or shaving. The time consuming task and maintenance involved was becoming too much, so she stopped.
Torres tells the Mirror that she decided to embrace her facial hair despite cruel hecklers who told her to “kill herself.”
“I have been called ‘ugly’, others have said ‘I should kill myself’. People have told me ‘go wax your ugly a**’ and have called me cancer.” She says, “people usually don’t make comments in front of me. Most are over the internet but I will get stares.”
Thankfully, Torres has the loving support of friends, family and her boyfriend of five years, Taylor. His reaction to Torres revelation that she had a beard was the kind of loving response we should all be so lucky to receive:
Alma said: “I told Taylor about my beard when we started dating. I was shaving at this point so there were times he would see me frustrated and help me tweeze it.”
Taylor tells the Mirror that it really doesn’t bother him:
“She’s still beautiful to me and her beard doesn’t define her. It’s just hair and it doesn’t have anything to do with how a person feels and should never be able to change that.
“It’s what is inside that matters. It’s something that’s natural and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Despite the haters, Alma vows to help others with their insecurities – especially other women with PCOS.
“I know how other women feel and I just want them to know that I’m there for them and that you can be who you are and you can be beautiful.”