Montreal artist and body hair activist covers magazine cover to spread message of self-esteem
Montreal artist Esther Calixte-Bea caused a stir last month, appearing on the cover of Glamor UK magazine to share with the world something she was embarrassed about: her chest hair.
Calixte-Bea has said, to her knowledge, that she is the first woman with chest hair to appear on a magazine cover.
She told CBC Let’s go that she is proud to represent women who kiss their natural hair.
“I’m happy that people can see themselves and I see myself on this blanket because growing up I never saw someone as hairy as me on the blanket. So I’m happy to have it be there for others. “
Calixte-Bea started growing hair on her chest at the age of 11. As she grew up in her teens, she learned through magazines, movies, and personal experience that hair on women was considered unwanted.
She struggled to hide and remove her hair, but the razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and scars made it difficult and painful.
âI was shaving, I was thickening myself,â she said. “My body would react and fight against me.”
“If it’s not normal for women to have hair, why is my body fighting back? Why does my body act this way? “
She slowly began to realize that her hair was part of her identity and that she was “tired of living by other’s rules.”
âI was not removing my hair for myself,â she said. “It’s time to free myself and stop being in this dark place and being this new person, a more genuine person.”
LISTEN | Esther Calixte-Bea talks about her role as a body hair advocate
Let’s go9:43A Montrealer with a Message Becomes a Glamor Cover Girl
Calixte-Bea caught Glamor UK’s attention with its body hair defense work, contributing to a UK campaign called ‘Januhairy’ in 2020.
The campaign challenges women to stop shaving their body hair during the month of January, as part of a larger goal to normalize women’s body hair.
Make beauty more inclusive
This year, Glamor UK invited Calixte-Bea to cover their issue on self-love.
Calixte-Bea said she was happy to be able to share her message of acceptance and hopes her work will help redefine beauty standards.
âI know I release a lot of women who are in this same dark place. And who are fed up with having to look a certain way. And so I feel like what I’m doing is making the beauty more. inclusive.”
Calixte-Bea hopes women stop being judged for “hair that grows naturally out of our skin” and hopes her work sparks an important conversation about double standards.
In 2019, she founded the Lavender Project, a photo project designed to challenge traditional notions of beauty, femininity and body hair.
She said the feedback from people online has been overwhelmingly positive.
âI got messages from hundreds of women saying to me, ‘Oh my God, I thought I was alone,'” she said.
Calixte-Bea’s family are also delighted to see how her work is received on the world stage.
“I am very proud, my husband is proud, everyone is proud of her,” said Betty Calixte, Esther’s mother. “We hope that she will and will continue to help other women.”
Calixte-Bea recently graduated from Concordia University and is focused on her upcoming art projects, while continuing to spread the message of hair positivity.