Michael first appeared on all about beards in 2006 as one of our youngest beard success stories. At that time he already had been growing his beard for more than a year. Five years after starting his run as a beard grower, Michael remains dedicated to growing his beard. To commemorate his fifth beard anniversary, Michael re-grew his full beard, expanding from a goatee and mustache. He started the new growth in early 2010, documenting the progress with weekly photos.
You can see the series of Michael’s 2010 new-beard-growth-progress photos here.
To further mark this milestone in Michael’s beard-growing history, Michael kindly responded to some new interview questions. The interview appears below on this page.
You celebrated a significant milestone in early 2010. What was it?
2010 is a milestone in my beard growing life; a “beard anniversary” year! On January 27th, 2005 — five years ago — I decided that the age of sixteen was a great time to grow a beard. I’ve had other types of facial hair before that, since about the age of twelve, such as a mustache, soul patch, and sideburns of different sizes, ranging from the typical to mutton chops, but never had I had a full beard before that.
What are you doing — beard-related — in honor of this?
For several months before my twenty-first birthday, I’ve been experimenting with the goatee plus sideburns combo. It was nice, but in honor of such an occasion, and also just because I wanted to, I decided to grow the full beard again!
For how many years now have you worn a beard?
I am now bearded for a little bit more than five years, since the day of my sixteenth birthday. Today I’m just over twenty-one.
How does it feel to be such a veteran beard-grower at such an early age?
Well, I certainly don’t see my self as a veteran beard grower, seeing men that have been growing beards for many years, even decades. But I am striving to be like that and keep growing as long as I walk this earth! Having a beard feels great; it gives you a great feeling of freedom, masculinity, and confidence in yourself… It gives me a feeling that I’m truly a man, as a man should be in a natural state. As for age, now that I’m in college, it’s nothing special; there are plenty of guys with different beards all around you! But when I was younger, it definitely made me feel more mature and even kind of special.
Do you perceive that your beard has further matured in recent years?
Well, in the long run — I guess it has, although much improvement is still needed, especially with my growth pattern… When I look at more recent photos, dating a year or two back, I don’t see much of a change — well, maybe it’s because I see my beard every day 🙂 — but when I look at photos from 2005 or 2006, I definitely see improvement.
While you’ve been bearded for many years, you seem to be changing your beard style all the time. Why is that?
There are several reasons for that. One is just the simple desire to experiment, to change things once in a while, and not without inspiration of beards.org’s chief “bearded adventurer” Steven! Sometimes I just find myself thinking, “Hmm… How would I look with THAT beard on my face? Let’s give it a try!”. But another reason is the beard itself, or maybe the lack of beard on certain points of my face, which derives from my growth pattern… I wish to grow a pointy “Van Dyke” style full beard one day, but every time I try, at one time point or another, my the beard starts splitting! I get a “French fork” and it’s even unbalanced and asymmetric. So sometimes I try a style just to see how much will it “cover up” the imperfections of my beard, and then try growing the pointy full beard again. So far I haven’t been that successful at that, but time heals all wounds, I suppose…
What do you think of the various beard styles you’ve worn and which do you think is best?
I think they are all great; each one gives a face a different look, a different feeling. Personally, I don’t like styles that are too hard to maintain on a daily basis. When not wearing a full beard, I always “fill in” the gaps with a few days of stubble. But despite all said above — my favorite is still the full beard. I hope that one day I will be able to grow a really big one!
Are you known among family and friends as “the bearded guy”?
Oh yeah! “Beard” became my middle name during those five years… My family still calls me “bearded one” sometimes, and I am commonly referred to as “bearded guy” by friends and just people around me. It is especially apparent when I go somewhere, meet up with people, and they forget my name. Then I get referred to as “the bearded guy”. At high school it was even some sort of a phenomenon, I guess. At college, despite the fact there are many bearded guys, I still get referred to as “the bearded guy”. In my class there are several Mikes, so some times people refer to me as “bearded Mike”. I guess the beard is a distinctive feature after all; no matter how many of them are clustered together, each one still remains special and noteworthy.
Do any of your friends have beards?
Most do not. One of my closest friends grows a goatee on-and-off and another just doesn’t like shaving. He has some beard most of the time. In college many guys I know are just to lazy to shave, so they have stubble or short beards occasionally.
Have you encouraged anyone else to grow a beard?
Yes, I did, do, and will do so in the future! In my opinion every guy should at least give it a try. If you don’t like the results, you can always shave. But until you try, you might not know what you are missing out!