Woman who let her chest hair grow says she's never felt so ...
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A woman who decided to allow body hair to grow on her chest because she hated to shave has never been more confident.

Esther Calixte-Bea, 25, has had a hairy chest from a very young age, which made her feel insecure and hate her appearance.

Visual artist Esther's insecurities were such intense she stopped swimming because she didn't want to go through the process of shaving or waxing, and having bad ingrown hair.

It was not until 2019 that Esther decided enough was enough, and she stopped shaving after travelling to Haiti.

During her travels, Esther, who goes by the moniker Queen Esie online, realised that beauty standards for women were everchanging and dependent on where you were in the world.

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Esther, from Montreal, Canada, said: "I became way less self-conscious when I learned this information and I realised I could choose for myself and couldn't wait for society to validate my body and my appearance."

When she returned home, decided to stop shaving altogether and go public, revealing to her family and friends that she had a hairy chest.

She added: "I created the Lavender Project. I tend to create paintings, but also create what I'm going through. I knew art was the perfect medium to tell people that I have chest hair."

The project was a 'self-photography project', where Esther photographed herself wearing a dress she made, showing her chest hair for the first time, and posted it on Instagram.

She said: "None of my friends knew, and most of my family members didn't know, and I was at a point where I had worked on my self-esteem. "I felt comfortable, and I didn't want to hide anymore because it was such a huge burden."

Esther not only decided to stop shaving her chest, but she also stopped shaving her legs, tummy, and armpits.

She started wearing shorts and clothing, revealing her body hair, to spark a conversation about why it is associated with masculinity, despite women having natural body hair themselves.

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Esther added: "My friends were actually really proud of me and liked my project and thought it was really interesting. They were surprised that I'd never told them I had chest hair.

"My mother, sister and aunt, they knew I had chest hair. My mother was like 'you know what, if you want to accept it, that's fine, do what you want'.

"She was really on my side. But at first my dad was like 'oh my gosh, why are you doing this?' And my mum was really telling him 'what she's doing is right and it's her decision'."

Esther has since taken to TikTok to challenge traditional relationships when it comes to beauty standards.

She has been vlogging her way through the video app flaunting her hairy chest where she questions what it means for women to have - and be proud of - their natural body hair.

Esther now runs successful TikTok, YouTube and Instagram accounts, where she regularly posts her thoughts and musings on how to redefine beauty standards for women in the modern era.

Her body hair activism has even landed Esther a cover spot on the UK edition of Glamour Magazine's 'self-love' edition, where she is seen donning a blue dress with her chest and leg hair on display, with the words "we wear our body hair with class".

Esther's activism is not only through the medium of social media but has also taken on the art world with paintings that reflect her grievances with traditional beauty standards for women, with a piece being shown in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

She said that her dating life and romantic relationships have not been affected by her body hair - and it will not stop her from finding a partner that loves her - for her.

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Esther has garnered a large social media following with a dedicated fanbase, but she still receives negative comments from people "especially on TikTok" - with some even being racist using "the monkey emoji".

However, she dismisses those who direct hate and negativity toward her and embraces those who want to learn about body hair with an open mind.

Esther added: "I'm not self-conscious with it anymore. I go out with it. I wear what I want. I'm very much confident because I've made that decision to not be affected by the world.

"I choose to grow my body hair because to me it's something empowering in a sense that throughout my life, through high school.

"Since I was a little girl, I was taught to shave simply because I was a woman.

"I never questioned it until I realised that I hate it. I hated shaving. I hated getting in-grown hair. I hated that after two days my hair would grow back.

"I kind of decided that I'm just going to keep my body hair and see how I feel about it."

SWNS reporting by Barney Riley

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