14 Times Celebrities Reminded Us Body Hair Is Personal And Not Up For Debate

Body hair. What exactly is the big deal about it? For as long as we can remember, it's been totally acceptable for men to sport as much or as little hair on their bodies as they like, but when it comes to women, all too often we're expected to be totally hair-free. From razors to waxing to laser treatments, not only can hair removal be time-consuming and sometimes painful, it's all pretty costly too. But, thankfully, it seems like things are finally changing.


In fact, The Telegraph found in 2017 that there was an 18% drop in women who said they removed their underarm hair compared to how many were getting rid of it in 2013. Equally, only 85% of those asked claimed they still removed hair from their legs, which marked another pretty steep drop from the 92% who were doing it in 2013.

Much of that has to do with the big strides forwards we've been taking as in society, as women feel less pressure to conform to often patriarchal standards of what their bodies should look like. And there are a number of celebrities who are helping to lead that charge.

Ashley Graham is all about personal choice when it comes to body hair

Supermodel Ashley Graham has never been one to shy away from the truth, as she's been known to get very candid with the world about pretty much all aspects of her life — including when it comes to her body hair.


One such example came in 2020 when the star shared a photo on Instagram shortly after giving birth to her son, Isaac. In the snap, the new mom could be seen putting her hand in front of her face, armpit hair totally visible, as she posed in front of the bathroom mirror in a crop top and shorts. "No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes even the messy parts) new moms go through. I wanted to show you guys that it's not all rainbows and butterflies!" she added.

After the photo caused somewhat of a stir, the star teamed up with Flamingo the following year to create her own shave set. But she made it very clear she didn't believe everyone needs to be clean-shaven at all times. "My philosophy has always been: Shave what you want, wax what you want, leave what you want — do what works for you," she told Flamingo. Graham also joked about her armpit-baring photo going viral on Instagram and added, "I [love] that no matter if you shave or wax (or let your hair grow every now and then), they have OPTIONS."


Rachel McAdams got real about shaving -- or not

Rachel McAdams wasn't afraid to ditch the razor for an April 2023 interview with Bustle, proudly showing off her unshaven armpit in an uber-glamorous photoshoot. The best part? The fact that McAdams didn't shave her underarms wasn't even mentioned in the article! McAdams did touch on her decision during a video interview with the outlet, though, where the "Mean Girls" actor dished out a little advice to her pre-teen self that had to do with hair removal: "Shaving is intense, but if you're gonna go ahead with it anyway, watch the ankle bones, the shins," she shared. "You're gonna go to bible camp and think it's okay to shave without shaving cream, and it's gonna be terrible. Always have shaving cream, and then if you want to stop shaving again one day, that's okay too. Confidence is everything," she added. It sure is!


But while the article itself didn't discuss McAdams' choice to let her armpit hair grow, there was plenty of discussion online. Outlets like Daily Mail made a headline out of her decision, while plenty of social media users shared their thoughts on the photos, both condemning her choice and supporting her for going against the norm. But, we have to say, we totally love her for it, and it's really no big deal.

Amandla Stenberg wowed in a gown with unshaven armpits

Amandla Stenberg proved it's more than possible to have body hair and still look insanely glamorous, as the non-binary star (who uses she/they pronouns) kept her armpit hair while attending the premiere for their movie "The Hate U Give" in 2018. Stenberg even drew more attention to her decision to ditch the hair removal process on Instagram, as she captioned a since-deleted post "#drama #armpit."


Stenberg has spoken out multiple times about the importance of being confident and herself, including telling People in 2017, "[I want to] show people who follow what I'm doing that you don't really have to conform to those constructs in order to be valid or be worth something." They've also been vocal about how important it's been to see people be themselves, and having people see her be herself. "The internet has allowed me to just be authentically myself, as opposed to having to perpetuate a certain image, and so I'm lucky that I don't have to fit into a certain box," they told Glamour in 2016.

Madonna was one of the first celebrity women to make a bold body hair statement

Never one to dim her own light, Madonna has been blazing a trail for going against the grain for years — and body hair is just one of the ways she's done that. The star has repeatedly refused to shave because she's expected too, even proudly showing off her long underarm hair in a 2014 Facebook post. The star posted a behind-the-scenes snap from a photoshoot with "L'Uomo Vogue," lifting her arm to show it had been a while since she'd last taken a razor to her armpits. "Long hair...... Don't Care!!!!!!," she captioned the upload, adding the hashtags #artforfreedom, #rebelheart, and #revolutionoflove.


But that was far from the first time Madonna has refused to interfere with the nature of her body, as letting her hair grow has been a years-long practice for the "Like A Virgin" hitmaker. All the way back in 1979, Madonna posed totally nude (and we mean totally nude) for photographer Lee Friedlander, and proved she wasn't going to shave anywhere just because she was expected to. The star proudly showed off her unkempt pubic and armpit hair in multiple photos and made it all too clear she most certainly had nothing to hide and no one to answer to.

Lourdes Leon got it from her mama

In a case of like mother like daughter, Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon proved she learned a lot from her mom's unapologetic free spirit. On multiple occasions, the model has made it pretty obvious that she inherited her mom's inspiring razor-aversion, and has shown you don't need to be totally void of body hair to look and feel amazing.


In 2018, the star walked the red carpet at the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Awards, lifting her arms high to give the world a look at her body hair. Leon later did the same when she made her debut at the prestigious Met Gala in 2021 , stopping for photographs on the red carpet and pulling a very similar pose to her famous mom. It's safe to say she really made a point of showing off her armpit hair to photographers, and still looked oh-so-glamorous while doing it. 

The following year, Leon proved she wasn't afraid (and nor should she be!) to rock body hair during her professional photoshoots either, as she proudly flaunted her underarm hair while modeling underwear for a Calvin Klein campaign. She then did it again during another big-time photoshoot, this one for fashion house Marc Jacobs.


Emily Ratajkowski will make her own body hair decisions, thank you very much

Emily Ratajkowski got very candid about her body hair in an August 2019 piece for Harper's Bazaar, posing for photos with unshaven armpits and making it clear that only she will make the decision about what and when she removes her body hair. "If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that's up to me. For me, body hair is another opportunity for women to exercise their ability to choose — a choice based on how they want to feel and their associations with having or not having body hair," she explained, noting that growing out the hair on her body actually made her feel sexier.


The star encouraged others to make their own decisions when it comes to what their bodies look like, noting there's no right or wrong. "As long as the decision is my choice, then it's the right choice. Ultimately, the identity and sexuality of an individual is up to them and no one else," she wrote.

Ratajkowski proudly shared photos from the shoot on Instagram. "I wrote an essay for @harpersbazaarus about the importance of women's right to choose (how she dresses, what she posts, if she decides to shave or not) no matter what influences have shaped the way she presents herself. Do your thing ladies, whatever it might be," she wrote in the caption.

Paris Jackson hit back at the haters

Don't think Paris Jackson is shying away from her body hair. Oh, no. Michael Jackson's daughter has been pretty vocal about not bowing to pressure when it comes to her appearance, which included clapping back at those who didn't love the fact she displayed her armpit hair while wearing a tank top in a photo posted to her own Instagram account. After getting some negative messages in response to the March 2017 upload, the model and musician took to Instagram Stories to hit back: "I didn't realize that people were going to get so upset over my armpit hair. I didn't realize that was such an issue. It is so funny. People are really mad." She then continued, "I love hair, and sweat, and BO. I f***ing love it, I think it's great. Some people think that it's like super disgusting, especially on girls, but every human body does it. It's natural." It certainly is!


And, showing of just one of the many reasons why we love her, Paris didn't let the haters stop her from being herself. Five months later, she actually joked about the length of her leg hair on Instagram. "If you're not competing with your brother over who can grow longer leg hair, [what are you even doing?]" she wrote in the caption, which showed her rocking short shorts with long leg hair.

Normalizing body hair is totally normal for Phoebe Bridgers

One of the things we loved about Phoebe Bridgers rocking armpit hair on the red carpet at the 2023 iHeartRadio Awards? How totally normal the whole thing was. The singer/songwriter, who has also been spotted with hairy underarms while performing, didn't draw a whole lot of attention to her decision and didn't even seem to discuss it on social media or in interviews. That gave us a different, more understated, take on how to really normalize the idea of women letting their body hair stick around.


In 2020, Bridgers admitted that she was learning to make her own decisions about her life and music instead of focusing more on what's expected of her in a patriarchal society. "I definitely feel a lot less apologetic now. But it's also not just about me being self-conscious — I think my music is better now," she told NME.

Lady Gaga made two big statements about armpit hair

We're used to Lady Gaga making some bold choices in her career, but one of our favorites is when she made an important statement about body hair during the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2011. The star proved that not only is armpit hair totally normal, but it can also be a fun and even glamorous accessory. The star famously stuck turquoise armpit hair extensions to her underarms as she performed her hits "Edge of Glory" and "Born This Way," proving there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about and no need to shave it off unless you want to.


Gaga has also shown off her own natural armpit hair before, as 2017 saw her post a selfie to Instagram which displayed some stubble under her right arm. The star didn't address her choice in the caption (because, hey, why should she even have to?), instead telling fans she was busy rehearsing for her world tour. Clearly this star was far too busy being booked and paid to be worried about a little body hair.

Don't expect Adele to be totally hair-free

Is there anything Adele can't do? She's there to score every heartbreak and give us all the laughs in, well, pretty much every interview she's ever done, but it turns out she's also got our backs when it comes to rejecting the expectation of removing body hair. The star clapped back at the patriarchal expectation during her 2016 cover story with Vanity Fair, admitting she won't be conforming for anyone telling her to remove her body hair. And certainly not a man. The star admitted during the interview that she hadn't shaven her legs for a month, but didn't care if her then-partner Simon Konecki minded. "He has no choice. I'll have no man telling me to shave my f***in' legs. Shave yours," she hit back. Epic.


Adele, of course, has been pretty open about the importance of always being her own person. Back in 2009, she explained to the Daily Mail that it had been instilled in her to always do what's best for her and not let someone else dictate what she should or shouldn't do with her own body. "I have never been insecure, ever, about how I look, about what I want to do with myself. My mom told me to only ever do things for myself, not for others," she shared.

Bella Thorne is totally comfortable with herself

Bella Thorne is another star who's been vocal about body hair and why we need to get over our obsession of always expecting women in particular to remove it. The actor actually wrote a piece on the subject for InStyle in 2017, where she admitted she had no issue with her own body hair and wouldn't be getting rid of it just because someone else thought she should. "I'm comfortable with it, so why shouldn't you be? If you really want my legs and armpits shaved so badly, you can do it yourself," she said. "I see myself and other girls get hate for having body hair. God forbid I'm not all waxed and oiled up AT ALL TIMES."


The star has continued to flaunt her body hair in uploads since then. In one video posted to Instagram in March 2019, Thorne had her armpit hair on display as she wowed in a red bikini while trying out a method of lightening her head hair with a friend. She also took a stand again in a leopard-print bikini photo set shared via Instagram in December 2019.

Miley Cyrus really wants you to see her body hair

Another big-name celebrity who has no issue with letting you know they grow body hair (just like the rest of us)? Miley Cyrus, of course! The former Disney Channel star has proudly displayed her body hair on social media multiple times over the years, including once by drawing a whole lot of attention to her natural growth. As shown in a since-deleted Instagram post from back in 2015, the "Flowers" singer actually dyed her armpit and pubic hair bright pink, suggesting she wasn't about to shave either off anytime soon.


That same year, she also took to Instagram to prove how much she wanted to normalize body hair by giving a photographer who didn't airbrush it out a big shoutout. The star posted, but has since removed, a photo of herself from a shoot with Terry Richardson where she proudly displayed her natural body. She wrote in the caption, "Thank you for not retouching my body hair like SOME people" along with the hashtags #comeasyouare and #iloveyou. Cyrus also proved she wasn't afraid to steer clear of the razor before public events, proudly keeping her armpit hair while attending the 2015 AIDS Research (amfAR) Inspiration Gala.

Halsey proudly bared her body hair on a magazine cover

Halsey certainly isn't afraid of her unshaven armpits being seen the world over, and we totally love that about her. In June 2019, Rolling Stone shared a look at the star's cover shoot — in which she put her underarm hair on full display by rocking a white tank top and putting both hands on the back of her neck — on Instagram.


The "Without Me" hitmaker has also shared several photos that featured her body hair on social media, even confidently clapping back at those who have tried to call her out over it. In April 2018, she expertly shut down a Twitter troll who added a sticker that said "lol" next to her unshaved armpit on a selfie she'd uploaded. "What the hell is this ?!!!" they wrote as a caption. Halsey then sassily responded, "It's an armpit you've put a sticker over. Not sure what else there is here to explain?" We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

Drew Barrymore will shave only if and when she wants to

As one of the most relatable A-list stars in Hollywood, it's probably little surprise to hear Drew Barrymore has gotten totally candid about letting her body hair grow out until she decides it's time to get rid of it. The actor and daytime talk show host admitted to InStyle during a March 2023 interview that she doesn't consider shaving to be self-care and she has much more important things to think about, so sometimes it just doesn't get done. And that's absolutely fine. "My legs aren't shaven ... Self-care for me is having my kids' stuff organized to get out the door in the morning, lined up. That's self-care. It doesn't seem like it, but it is, because this f***ing bubble bath approach is so irritating. That doesn't bring me self-care or joy," she confessed.


But when she does decide it's time to remove her body hair, Barrymore has made it clear that it's still optional and all down to personal preference. A month after the interview, the star took to Instagram to post a video in which she admitted she'd gone three months without shaving her armpits but had decided it was time to grab the razor again. Now that's some relatability we absolutely love.