Bearded beauties to compete
They call themselves the All Beards and they're growing for international facial hair glory.
Hamilton's Jeremy Mayall and Jason Hansen aim to represent New Zealand in the 2011 World Beard and Moustache Championships, to be hosted by the Norwegian Moustach-club in the city of Trondheim in May next year.
Mr Mayall – a 27-year-old musician, actor, film director and student – is already sporting an impressive "Alaskan whaler" style beard, and that's the category he hopes to compete in come May. Mr Hansen – a 33-year-old actor and student – is considering entering his bristles into the championships' "Garibaldi" section.
The two "beardsmiths" have previously sported razor-sharp beards and the decision to "let it grow" and go competitive with their whiskers came in May this year.
"I enrolled to do my music PhD at Waikato University, and I brainstormed the idea of growing my beard for the length of the study – about three years," Mr Mayall said. "I wanted to make my beard nice, rather than one of those ratty old hobo beards. It's kind of fighting against that stigma around beards, that they (people with beards) are lazy."
The pair believe they are the first New Zealanders to seek entry into the genteel world of competitive beard and moustache-growing.
Mr Mayall and Mr Hansen are well outside the usual competitive beard and moustache demographic.
"The majority of people in international bearding are 40 or 50 years plus – they've had years of growing beards," Mr Mayall said.
"We're the young guns," Mr Hansen said.
The All Beards hope to gain sponsorship for their trip, including team uniforms and travel assistance. Waikato film production firm Chasing Time Productions is following the All Beards throughout, with a documentary planned.
Mr Hansen said his beard growing will include a beard theme at his wedding in March, when male guests will be encouraged to sport facial hair. The duo have a "secret weapon" as they pursue bearding brilliance – Mr Mayall's wife, Courteney, is a hairdresser, and the couple are experimenting with various beard products to maximise Mr Mayall's hair follicle fixture.
Organisations or companies wishing to help the All Beards can contact Mr Mayall at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr Mayall and Mr Hansen are producing a Beardy Blog for www.waikatotimes.co.nz.