Film transcript - Passion

People don’t really want to know anything about me, they just want to know about the beard.

There’s a lot more to it than just not shaving anymore. It’s a timeline of my life.

My name is Jack Passion, I’m a two time world beard champion.

I’m just a normal guy, with a big beard. I’m just a normal guy, trying to figure out his life. I happen to have a huge beard, and that beard has been magnetic for a lot of cool stuff.

The world beard and moustache championships is a biennial competition where men from over 40 countries get together and compete to celebrate and honour the best facial hair in the world.

I began competing in beard competitions kind of on a whim. It was like a big deal that this 21 year old American kid could show up at this European competition on European soil and do so well.

I would just go to the next one, that was 2007 in xx England, and I just kept winning. 2009 rolls around, I go to Anchorage, Alaska for the world championship. Again first place natural full beard.

When you get to the top, people don’t like the champion, they like the underdog. There is a dark side with competitive beard growing. I know that’s in me, I’m ruthless, I mean my eyes roll back into my head and just like, there’s like a lust for blood.

There’s probably some politics involved. I just really strive to avoid that.

A beard is very easy to begin and difficult to master. To grow a beard like mine, one needs patience. One needs confidence. And one needs a lot of protein.

Just like you would grow a beautiful flower, by fertilising the soil and watering accordingly, so do you grow a beard. There’s bad beard days along the way and you can’t let those get you down or people’s perhaps uninformed negative commentary stand in your way.

The difficulty comes in not so much with you growing the beard but in you showing the beard to a world that may not be ready for it.

There’s so many stereotypes associated with facial hair. The lumberjack. The hippy. The biker. There’s, I dunno, there’s like a handful of things you can be with a beard.

I feel like there’s this moment when people can either say: well I know what I think about big nasty beards, and that’s a big beard, so it must be nasty. Or they could say: this is something I’ve never seen before, and if I can catch those people in that moment, I can sway them towards the positive. And then they think, wow, Jack is a really friendly guy, and he has a beard.

Recently there’s been a term to emerge, ‘beardo’. It’s always used as a term of endearment. However, beardo sounds like weirdo, that’s a very clear and easy line to draw. And I don’t think being a weirdo is what men who want to have beards should be proud of. Instead ‘beardsmen’ is the term I prefer to use, just because its at least commands some respect.

I’ve proven that I’m really good in beard competitions, and showing my beard off, and growing a beard and… I guess you know like, you don’t walk away from something you’re having success in – or do you?

In the story of Samson and Delilah, Samson had this hair, and it was like his identity, had his power. Then his hair was cut off. That was it. No more power.

If I were to not have my beard, would I still be Jack Passion? Would I still be who I am? And I as a man would not be different. People’s perception of me would be radically altered.

There’s only one way to find out if I would lose all of my powers by shaving. And that’s to shave.

The question becomes do I shave it all off and live a life without facial hair, or do I just trim the beard? If I had a beard that was like up to here, that would be, I mean I would be like liberated. But is it time for that liberation? Have I taken everything from you know my bearded journey that I have to take? Is it time to liberate? Will I always have it this extreme? Who knows? I don’t even know yet.

But I can tell you that in the future my hand may hold a razor, it may hold scissors, and probably will continue to hold trophies.