Meet 2013's Mr. February! Does he look familiar? You may have seen him recently in the Oscar nominated movie, Lincoln! This is Chad Roberts of Virginia. He and his beard graduated from the college of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and now spend their days working for a media company and doing "beard things". Chad and his beard are blessed to be happily married to a very beard-supportive wife! Read on to learn more about Chad, his beard, and his club.
Name: Chad Roberts
How long have you been growing your beard?: This current incarnation has been growing since October 2010. I'd had a short full beard for quite a while, and wanted to grow it out to see what it would look like, what it would do.
Why are you growing your beard?: I've always had facial hair of some variety since after high school. I like to attribute it to my Oregon roots, but I do think it's a man's intended state. If you have the ability to rock a beard, or moustache, or what ever fits you best, you should. I've seen crappy beards with amazing moustaches, and great beards with sad moustaches. You're not doing anyone any favors trying to be what you're not. Grow what you can and own it.
Have you won or placed in any competitions?: Just a few:
• 2013 NJ Beard and Moustache Competition, First Place in Freestyle
• 2012 Mekong Winter Sol-Stache, Best Freestyle
• 2012 NYC Beard and Moustache Competition, Tied for Second Place in Freestyle
• 2012 Beard Team USA National Beard & Moustache Championships (Las Vegas, NV), Finalist (Fourth Place*) in Freestyle
* all those who made it to the final round, but didn't take 1st, 2nd or 3rd, were awarded 4th.
• 2013 Stache & Beards For Breasts Calendar, Mr. April
• 2012 BeardCon (Columbus, OH), Third in Full Beard Styled
• WPBMA 5th Annual Beard and Mustache Championships (Oil City, PA), First in Full Beard Freestyle
• 1st Great Lakes Regional Beard and Moustache Championships (Lansing, MI), Third in Full Beard Styled
• 2012 Mekong Summer Sol-Stache, Best Freestyle
• 2012 Uptown Pitman Music & Arts Festival, First in Freestyle
• 3rd Annual Southeastern Beard & Moustache Championships (Charleston, SC), Second Place in Full Beard Freestyle
• 1st Ever Mid-Atlantic Beard & ‘Stache Competition (Richmond, VA), First Place in Freestyle
• 2012 NJ Beard and Moustache Competition, First Place in Freestyle
• 2011 NYC Beard and Moustache Competition, Third Place in Freestyle
• 2011 Mekong Winter Sol-Stache, Best Freestyle
How did you find out about the bearding community?: Richmond's a fairly fuzzy city, so I figured there had to be some social club or group out there. I know it's been a big inspiration to many, but I didn't even hear about IFC's Whisker Wars until we were getting ready head to Nationals in Lancaster, PA. Initially I found out about the greater bearding community through Beard Team USA's website. Turns out there was a local chapter in town, but it was inactive, so I started my own in June of 2011.
Do you belong to any beard club?: Hells yes. I'm the President and Founder of the RVA Beard League ("RVA" is the all but official moniker for Richmond, VA). We grow respect for facial hair in all its forms through community volunteer work, charity fundraising, & camaraderie. Today we have 40 active members, and total membership near 150. We're easily the most-traveled beard group in the country. We've been to 30+ competitions around the country in the past year and a half. The RVA Beard League is also a founding member of the North American Competitive Beard & Moustache Alliance, the largest chapter of Beard Team USA in the region, and the newest North American member of the World Beard and Moustache Association.
When we're not travelling, we support our home town doing volunteer work, like helping out with Habitat for Humanity, organizing local patronage mobs, adopting a couple roads around town, and the like. Our first competition raised $1,400 and gathered nearly 250 pounds of food for the Central Virginia Food Bank. This year the goal for our competition is to donate double that mount to Big Brothers Big Sisters. We want people to have a positive connotation of facial hair of all kinds, and we do our damndest to be good stewards of our community.
Is shaving anywhere in your future(I hope not!)?: I can't image myself without a beard. In fact, I've had unnerving dreams about that very matter. I may not always have the giant beard, but I'll always sport some sort of beard, it's just a part of who I am.
What is the best compliment your beard has received?: I've found that beards are fairly polarizing. Either people (incorrectly) think they're disgusting and sloppy, or are the most awesome thing ever. There's also a generational aspect, and it's good to see that people born after my parents generation, removed from the connotation with Vietnam and dirty hippies, have come to embrace facial hair as something great. That being said, the best compliments are ones are from strangers who feel compelled to say something. It's encouraging to see one less person with a negative stereotype of guys with facial hair.
Are there any competitions that we can find you at in the near future?: I'm planning on heading up to Hartford, CT at the end of the month, then Greensboro, NC and Philadelphia in March.
On April 27, we'll be hosting the 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Beard & 'Stache Championships here in Richmond, to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Richmond. As our tagline says, "Growing is Half The Battle". There's a lot more information at beardleague.org.
In May, there's Georgia, Charleston, SC, and back up to Pennsylvania in June. Then on top of that, once the weather perks up, our group represents at local fairs and festivals around town. So, between all that, work, and a home life, I've got a full slate.
I compete in the Full Beard Styled or "Freestyle" category, so I don't have quite the same regimen before contests as a lot of other guys do. There's a lot more prep-work involved, but it's fun to be creative and see what you can accomplish. The friendly rivalry and competition between beardsmiths doesn't hurt either.
I'm perhaps best known as The X-Wing Beard Guy that made the rounds on the Internet last summer (ie. Imgur/Reddit, io9, Neatorama, Blastr, Official Star Wars Twitter, BoingBoing, CollegeHumor, Thinkgeek).
I, and several RVA Beard League members, were lucky enough to be cast as extras in Steven Spielberg's movie Lincoln. The pay was nothing to write home about, but the experience was amazing, and we did get a $10/day "beard bump" for bringing our own, so the makeup artists didn't have to apply fake beards onto 200 of us each day. That, and we can now refer to Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones as former co-workers, and the director of E.T., the Indiana Jones movies, and Jurassic Park as "my old boss."
Because we traveled to many beard competitions in 2011-2012, you can catch a few glimpses of me on the second season of Whisker Wars.
Congratulations to Chad, our February 2013 Beard Of The Month! If you are interested in throwing your own beard in the ring, contact us here.