Steve was a veteran full-beard grower even before he recently reached age twenty. He is probably the youngest member of the featured beards section here at beards.org. When asked to tell us something about himself, Steve responded:
I spent about ten years involved in karate and received my black belt. After that, I spent some time wrestling and boxing. So I’ve certainly got a spot for competitive sports. When I wrestled, I had to be clean shaven for every match, which certainly wasn’t my ideal. I remember one time the referee said my stubble was too long and I had to take a two-bladed throw-away and run off to the bathroom and shave very quickly, which was a pain.
I love watching mixed martial arts. I have also competed in mixed martial arts a few times. I love writing and am in my last year as an undergraduate majoring in English and minoring in education. I’m hoping to be a high school teacher.
At one of my former jobs, one of my co-workers decided to call me grizzy and that was how I was known to everyone. Sometimes eating gets a little messy, especially items with some kind of sauce. The beard certainly could be considered a flavor saver. Eating a bagel and cream cheese can be a real disaster and I remember one of my roommates saying jokingly, “Please clean yourself up. I can’t take you anywhere.” Then I said, “Why? It’s just going to get messy again with the next bite.”
Be sure to visit Steve’s photo album. Steve recently did a full shave-down series, followed immediately by a beard re-growth series of photos. Both are seen in his album.
UPDATE: Read an all-new interview with Steve.
The photos on this page and in Steve’s photo album were provided by Steve and are used with permission. All photos are subject to the site’s conditions of use.
What do you think of beards?
Hmmmm. You know, I’ve never really stopped to think about a question like this. Off the top of my head, I think beards are awesome. I think every guy should try giving it at shot at some point. I mean seriously now, who is going to mess with a guy with a beard?
Why do you grow your beard now?
My beard is a part of who I am. I feel completely naked without it. Facial hair has been a part of my life for the last seven years and I think I look better with it. And also, let’s not kid around, it is certainly easier than shaving.
Did you ever think about wanting to grow a beard before you actually were physically capable of growing a beard?
No. I don’t remember ever thinking about growing a beard.
You started shaving at age twelve. How did you feel about that?
Hah. That was certainly something. I remember having quite a bit of peach fuzz in the fifth grade. In sixth grade I remember sitting across from a kid in history class and he was like, “man, you really gotta do something about that.” So I went home and shaved. I don’t even think I used shaving cream. Just grabbed a two-bladed throw-away and went at it. For the rest of that year,
I shaved once a week or so. I don’t remember feeling any certain way about it.
When did you grow your first beard?
Growing the first beard actually happened a little later on. I dabbled with other styles, but I don’t remember the first beard happening until my senior year of high school.
What led you to decide to grow your first beard?
It was just one of those things that happened. I don’t remember thinking about growing a beard. I think I just trimmed down whatever style I was wearing and let it all grow in.
How did your first beard turn out?
Turned out great. I didn’t have any problem areas and it all grew in evenly. I kept it for about six months. I didn’t want to have too much hair for my senior prom. So I shaved a little beforehand so as to just have some scruff.
Did you experience any shyness or self-consciousness about growing your first beard?
No, not particularly, because for years prior, I had always had some type of facial hair. When I was younger and first starting off, although I was feeling mostly pretty cool, I think I was a little self-conscious. You don’t see too many other middle school kids walking around with mutton chops and a lot at that age is about fitting in.
Did any of your family members or other relatives have beards at the time that you grew your first beard?
My dad has always had a very awesome mustache and I had seen pictures of uncles with full beards. But no one at that time had a full beard.
Was there a bearded role model who inspired you to want to grow a beard?
I can’t think of anyone in particular for the full-beard look. But when I started playing around with side burns and mutton chops, I can thank Wolverine of the X-men and the character Hyde of That ’70s Show for deciding to go with that look. Also, my dad would show me pictures of Neil Young and point out the awesome burns he had.
You’ve grown the full beard. How did you select that style? What’s your opinion on the full beard versus other beard styles?
I have dabbled in other styles, but I ultimately like the full beard the best. I can’t really say why. I just like how it looks. I think it just depends on what works for you and how grizzly you are willing to look.
Have you worn any other beard style? If so, which ones?
Throughout seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth grade, I switched between sideburns and mutton chops. In my junior year, for a while I went for the goatee and sideburns combination. Then early in my senior year, I did a handlebar mustache. That one was probably my favorite. This past summer I did a sideburns and handlebar mustache combination.
How do you like being a full-bearded man?
I’m very happy to be able to grow a beard like I’ve got.
You are relatively young to be a veteran full-beard grower. What’s that like for you?
It certainly makes me look older. For years I’ve always had the pleasure of watching people’s eyes widen when I tell them how old I really am. I like it.
Are you aware of continued development (maturation) of your beard in the last couple of years? Or does it seem to have reached a plateau?
I imagine it’s changed in some ways, but nothing I’ve really noticed. I’ve always been pretty lucky to have a nice beard. I’d like to think it hasn’t reached a plateau but I guess I’ll find out.
Has your full beard had any effect on your self-confidence or how you see yourself? Has it had any other effect on your personality?
I certainly feel better with my beard. I like the rugged look and I like looking older. I feel pretty cool with it. I don’t think it has changed my personality in any way. I think I may get noticed more, having the beard though.
How do people react to your beard? What do you think of their reactions?
For the most part, I’ve had very positive reactions. I’ve always had positive reactions from guys…maybe a little beard envy? At family parties, on occasion I’d have some aunts say I should get rid of it. But I don’t see that happening. I have had some girls say I look better without it, but what can you do? I’ve been lucky to have girlfriends who like beards. Many times when I first meet someone, the first thing they have to say is a comment regarding my beard. I currently work in a deli and I have had some male customers say they wish they could grow a beard like mine. At the end of the day, it is a part of who I am. So the only person I’d shave for is myself.
You mentioned that some people refer to you as their lumberjack friend and that you’re glad that your beard can bring joy to their lives. That’s an interesting way of looking at it. How do you see that your beard brings joy to the lives of others?
I just think that people can appreciate a good beard and maybe other guys who see mine will decide they want one. Also, the combination of my beard and some plaid has my buddies and I joking about me belonging somewhere in the wild.
You said, “Without coming off too boastful here I thought it’d be worth mentioning that I’m 20 now and think I’ve got a fairly impressive beard for my age.” Go ahead. Let’s hear you boast about your beard!
Haha. Yeah, I’d like to think of myself as a fairly modest person and there are all kinds of other great and impressive beards on this site. But yes, I must admit I’ve got one hell of a beard at my age and I hope it only gets better from here.
Do you take a lot of pride in your beard? How would you rate your beard?
Absolutely. I’m a big fan of my beard and think highly of it. I would give it a high rating. You should always take pride in yourself.
What do you like best about your beard?
I like the color of it and how evenly it grows, with no real trouble areas.
Do you have any complaints about your beard?
There is one little spot under my nose in the middle of my top lip that is a little weak. It is not particularly noticeable, I don’t think, unless you are looking for it. I think the rest of my beard takes attention away from it. Actually in general, I wish I had a stronger mustache. I also have a few gray hairs along my jawline. They are not too noticeable. It’s not really a complaint, as I don’t mind, but it may be a tad too early for that.
What made you a dedicated, permanent beard grower?
I think I look better with a beard and I also enjoy the compliments. The beard makes up a part of who I am.
You shaved your beard off in stages to assist your college roommate with a photography project. What was that like for you?
When he approached me with the idea, I was a little tentative, as it had been almost two years since I had been clean shaven. This past summer I did cut it down to a handlebar mustache with sideburns. But that was as close to clean as I’d planned on being. But I knew it would grow back and that it would help him for his final, so I figured what the hell. We had a lot of fun with it.
Also, he ended up making a short video for his digital media final, which he received an “A” on. I’d have to assume it was mostly for my dashing looks of course. I enjoyed seeing myself with just a mustache, as it made me look like my dad (which he enjoyed as well), although his is certainly better. The first couple of days being completely bare were tough. But the scruff slowly started to come in. I actually remember the next day, this group of kids I didn’t even know walked by me in the hall and this kid said, “Wow. He really did shave.” See the impact I have on people?
Now that you have been re-growing your beard following the photography project, what is your current beard-growing goal?
I don’t necessarily have any goals. But I think I’ll let it go at least until the summer. I may decide on a trim or going back to the handlebar mustache. For now, though, I plan on seeing how long I can get it. I don’t think I’ve ever really let it go much beyond three months without a trim so I am looking to pass that.
What have you learned from your beard-growing experiences?
I guess if I’ve learned any lessons, it would just be to do what you like. If you want a beard, then go for it. Also, be careful with trimming. I’ve had a few mishaps and then everything had to go.
Would you recommend to other guys that they grow full beards?
Absolutely. I think everyone should give it a shot once. What’s to lose?
What do you think about being featured on beards.org?
I’m happy to be a part of this site, alongside some of these other great beards.
What do you think of beards.org?
I’m very glad I stumbled upon this site. I think the success stories section is very useful for people maybe needing a little motivation. The whole site is great for inspiration. It’s great to take a look at beards around the world and see what everyone else is growing.
UPDATE: Read an all-new interview with Steve.