While many women around the world spend hundreds of dollars per year on methods to remove their body hair, this tattooed model has chosen to embrace her hair in its natural form. Meet Bella Mae, known to some as Hairy Fairy, a model based in Texas who gave up shaving and gained a powerful social media following. We sat down with the body positive beauty to learn about her journey as a model, as well as, how she's learned to accept both the beautiful and the ugly sides of social media.
When did you decide to stop shaving and be open with your body hair?
My reason for why I stopped shaving makes me laugh to this day. At the time I was dating an on-and-off again long distance fuck wad of a dude who had just moved back to town. I'd stopped shaving my armpits before he had moved back and had a tiny lil bush, but everything else was smooth. He did NOT like that and told me 'I can't take you anywhere nice if you have that nasty shit on your body.' Well, Valentine's Day was like days away, so in an effort to make this awful man happy I shaved everything on my body for our date, to say 'Oh look how obedient I am.'
Well, guess who got fucking dumped on their Valentine's Day date? ME! From that point on, I vowed to NEVER alter my body in ANY way to gain the affections of someone else. Others' happiness shouldn't be at the cost of your own, especially if they claim to care about you. Just be true to yourself cause you're the most important person in your life.
As soon as I grew it all out, I had sex where someone had their face in my armpit the entire time and it was FUCKING AMAZING. That just sealed the deal for me and I've only shaved for tattoos ever since.
When did you start modeling?
I began modeling in 2014 for myself when I started up my resale vintage shop. Soon after starting that, I hired a friend to do my first "boudoir" shoot and it went so well I was encouraged to branch out into paid modeling gigs. I really didn't think modeling was an option for a hairy, disabled chick.
How have people on social media reacted to your body hair?
It's always an extreme reaction. Either in extreme support or extreme disdain and a need for me to fail. People see my hair and feel a NEED to tell me how they feel about it. The way people react online is exactly how they do in person. People are just way more forthright with what they say online.
I've been yelled at in public plenty of times for my body hair. I think there's something that happens when people see anything they perceive as SO far from their norm or 'preference.' My belief is that they feel I'm a threat, like 'oh she's gonna inspire more people to think it's ok for feminine-presenting people to not shave and THEN EVERYONE WILL BE HAIRY AND I CAN'T FUCK ANYONE IF THEY'RE HAIRY!'
About 99.9% of the time when someone expresses their disgust after seeing my hair, it's centered around the fact that they won't have sex with someone who looks like me. Which is like WILD to me, because why the fuck do I need to know your sexual preference? I don't shave, that's not me trying to tell you I want to fuck you. Why is my body hair an invite for you to tell me who you fuck? My usual response is 'I'm so glad we established we both don't want to fuck each other?'
Instagram also doesn't help me either. They refuse to take down any images people steal from me by saying it isn't harassment, but you just have to look at the comments that it actually is. They also categorize my thigh hair and pubes as genitals, which shocker, they aren't. So a shaved model could wear the exact same micro bikini is as me, but I would get my picture deleted because hair would be showing. So it can be pretty stressful posting at times. I keep my account private, which helps me feel more comfortable sharing my love for my body on any kind of online platform.
When I do post on my own account, I get SO MUCH LOVE. I've lost count of the sweet messages I've been sent since being visible with my body hair. And the amount of people who have told me they stopped shaving as well. There are also so many people telling me they wish they could stop shaving, but don't want the stress of others' opinions constantly being thrown at them. I've had peoples partners tell me they started conversations they had never had before about wanting their significant others to choose whatever they wanted to do with their body hair and not just shave for them.
On the public sides of social media, it always seems like pictures of body hair on feminine-presenting people starts a war. I can't look at those comment sections, but it's constant hate, constant love, and SO MUCH ARGUING. It's exhausting and it would be really great if everyone stopped policing peoples bodies.
When did you realize that feminine-presenting people with body hair is a "fetish" you could capitalize on?
Almost immediately when I started showing off my hair online, photographers took notice and wanted to book me. They usually admitted it was because of their love for 'feminine body hair.' I just went from there and the rest was history.
I'm disabled from Lyme Disease, so I already can't shave (shaving causes more harmful bacteria to live on my body which I can't have with a compromised immune system) or work a physically demanding job. It just made sense to me to capitalize off it. Hair fetish lovers pay my medical bills, they're the reason I could start treatment after my first one failed four years ago.
What assumptions do people make about you because of your appearance?
There are a few different assumptions people make based on my hair; some are really hurtful and sometimes they're just harmless. The general harmless one is that I'm not clean because I have hair. Which I just have to laugh at and direct anyone to Google because science says otherwise.
Another that makes me laugh is people assume no one wants to sleep with me because I have a bush. And I'm telling you, with most people I'm their first and there is ZERO hesitation diving in there.
My sexual orientation and gender identity getting assumed/questioned based on my body hair is another big one. Which is harmful, because of how transphobic that is. When you're hating people who identify as a woman, who also has body hair, including facial hair, for the reasoning 'That's not what women look like,' you're being transphobic. And that's my biggest anger I have with people who hate my hair.
It's violent, wrong, and kills trans women daily. People really need to stop policing other bodies and stop seeing how someone presents themselves as a personal attack. That's the overall assumption I think people have when they see me that my body hair is this 'fuck you I'm throwing at them. It's really awful and it happens way more often and way more violently towards trans women than it ever will towards me.
I think that's something that needs to be remembered when talking about body positivity if you want actual change. We need to be positive about ALL bodies. Everyone should be respected. We can't just be positive for the benefit of thin, cis, white women.