Liv Sage for "Natural Beauty"
“I stopped shaving around the time I began art modelling full time. To be quite honest, it was the result of a number of things. I had started traveling a lot and not shaving is simply more convenient. I also thought it was sort of a natural progression as an art model who is mainly working in natural spaces. I have naturally grown in pubic hair as well, so it sort of went along the same lines of my being in a "natural" state. It's also a bit timeless in a certain way. Many people hire models without modification for the reason that you cannot place them in a certain time - you can date people by certain hairstyles, including pubic and armpit hair. The main reason is, of course, that I simply prefer it. I think it adds something interesting and different from what we normally see on women.
I got less razor burn! But really, I have very sensitive skin, so this was an issue for me when I would shave. In seriousness though, I think there's this idea that many women would feel self-conscious if they have hair growing where it shouldn't be growing by normal 21st century grooming standards. But honestly, I think there's a certain confidence that goes along with having it, a certain 'I do not care what other people think of my personal choices' attitude. Around the same time I stopped shaving, I also pretty much stopped wearing any makeup as well. It's more comfortable, and there's a bit of a confidence that develops. I tend to care very little about what other's think of my appearance - as odd as that sounds given my career.
People respond in different ways - as is the general rule regarding how they respond to anything. Many responded very positively - though this can also veer into a strange, fetishistic territory at times. I've had women tell me they wish they could grow out armpit hair, I've had people who thought they'd be grossed out by it actually not mind it, and I've changed a few people's minds about it. I think humans are funny creatures...we tend to think of things as foreign and strange, and then one person we know does a thing, and since that person is not a complete lunatic we say "Oh, this must be fine and even good!" And we change our minds.
On the other end of the spectrum, I've had people intensely dislike it. They'll call me "dirty", "nasty", or they say things like "I wouldn't fuck" - as if it's an option they had (it wasn't) that they're turning down. And to be really honest, these things don't bother me at all. Armpit hair is asshole deterrent, because the people who get upset about it are the sort of people who throw a fit about personal choices that have no affect on them at all. They think that women, even women they do not know and will never come into contact with, should modify their bodies in order to suit their specific preferences. These aren't the sort of people I wish to associate with on any level, so it's nice to have such an easy way to identify them.
I think armpit hair comes down to a person's personal preference about their own body. It's perfectly fine, it's hygienic, it's more comfortable for many of us, and it’s a natural thing that can happen to adult humans and those entering adulthood. I don't tend to think of mine as a political statement on my part, or a feminist statement, but I think at the same time it is in a way, whether I would label it as such or not. It's an example of the denial of standards many women are pressured into about their bodies. It's an example of choosing to do something outside the normal standard even when you could face a bit of disdain for that choice. It's valuing my own preferences for and comfort in my body over what people tell me I should be doing with my body according to an arbitrary standard. When I'm going about my day, I don't really think about it though, it's simply a part of me as anything else about my body.”
– Liv Sage for Natural Beauty. Photographed in April, written in July (2017).