Darian Koszinski for 'Natural Beauty' by Ben Hopper (2018)
“Shaving, epilating or waxing hurts. I was tired of suffering, trying to adapt to the image of a ‘beautiful young woman’ society is selling us. Everybody told me to shave. As a teenager, it’s a huge subject among girls; where do you shave? What method are you using? It takes so much time and costs so much money (the majority of hair removal products are also not recyclable). All of these reasons coming one after another motivated me to stop shaving. I would often have irritated skin after shaving and being a very sporty person, the sweat and the friction of my clothes would cause pain.
The worst thing was having sex on the second day after shaving my vulva. I didn't understand why women would suffer and waste so much time on hiding who they really are.
It was hard to accept my new image. I am an ash blond, but have BLACK hairs on my legs, armpits and vulva. My legs were the worst; in addition to the long black hair, they’re quite muscly. It made it harder to accept my masculine look but I had a feeling that I needed to stop shaving so I could feel more like myself– accept myself as I really am.
Nowadays I love my hair. It definitely makes me feel stronger and in balance with myself. I like touching it and showing it. I sometimes even like to use it to provoke. I kind of enjoy the moments in the Metro; when people seem disturbed looking at my legs. I always hope other women and men can find us, naturally hairy women, as an inspiration.
There are all kind of reactions– people talking behind my back, curious friends asking for the reason, others who tell me that they love it and others making fun of it, or being disapproving. When I was 17 I had the idea that if I stopped shaving I’d only meet people who really like me and don’t care about these superficial norms of society. It worked out!
As a performer, having armpit hair is a huge subject! Once, a manager told me to shave and I did it. It was for a commercial performance (Le Tour de France à Voile). It felt so strange and I was sad to lose my armpit hair– it was like losing a part of my personality. I realised I didn’t like what my shaved armpits looked like anymore. It felt empty. Sometimes artistic directors recommend shaving for the stage; I pass, even if they don't approve of my choice. I don't shave for the stage anymore. I’m not on stage to fit into a particular image; I’m there because of my abilities.
As an artist, I have responsibility to show what’s possible and to set an example for others. By showing my body hair on stage, I would like to stimulate and change people’s point of view. I’d like to motivate women to make their own choices.
I feel sorry about one thing– when I still shaved, it was actually me who told my mother that she should shave too, as she didn’t before.
Today, ironically, she continues to shave and is surprised that I do not.
I am really glad and thankful to be a part of this wonderful project! I’d like to send everyone a lot of warm strong hugs full of love!”
Darian Koszinski. Circus artist (2018)