The IFC Original Reality Series ‘Whisker Wars’ begins its second season on November 23rd at 10pm. We caught up with former World Champion Jack Passion to discuss his involvement in the world of competitive beard growing and what sets him apart from the competition.
YS: How old were you when you began growing your beard out?
JP: The beard I have now I began when I was 19. Just like someone might get a haircut, so do I keep my beard trimmed.
YS: When did you first get involved in facial hair growing competitions, and was there an event that inspired you to grow your beard competitively?
JP: just wanted a story to tell my grand kids. In 2005, the World Championship was going to be in Germany and I wanted to go to Germany. I got third place there and that put me on the map. The rest is history.
YS: A causal observer would probably look at the show and say ‘this is a bunch of guys growing their beards out.’ Describe how it’s more than that and the psychology that goes into the competition.
JP: Beard competitions are really a bunch of guys having a good time over a shared experience and common interest. A show about that wouldn’t be on TV, it’s a lot of fun to be part of, just not interesting to watch. The appeal of Whisker Wars is the trash talking and the drama, just like any TV show. The show is a docu-comedy and I looked to characters like Jim Lahey (Trailer Park Boys), Billy Mitchell (King of Kong), and Kenny Powers (Eastbound and Down) for inspiration and guidance to make it fun and funny.
YS: Are there tricks to growing and maintaining an award winning beard? What’s your daily preparation like?
JP: I outline all of my tips and tricks in my book, The Facial Hair Handbook. I give out all my secrets, but few men will actually put all of them to use.
Maintenance is much easier if you grow strong hair to begin with. I’m far more concerned with quality growth than I am hair care. Hair is dead: you can’t make it better, only prevent it from getting worse. If you start with great hair it’s easy to keep it great/good for a very long time.
I take a beard growing vitamin called VitaBeard. The same company makes a very powerful Omega 3 supplement that I take as well. I eat clean, high quality protein. Bioavailability is a big deal and so I eat very simple, clean, fresh, natural and unprocessed foods. Protein is essential, but you need high quality. For instance, cheap corn-fed beef is a waste of your time and money – go grass fed or don’t bother.
Consequently, my daily prep doesn’t need to be more than a wash (I use Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap) and a brushing. Guys love to talk about how much work their beard is. Those fools are just doing it wrong.
YS: Who is your chief rival and what steps are you taking to defeat him?
I have no rivals on the beard level, but contemporary facial hair competition is much less about how good your beard is and much more about who your friends are. In Whisker Wars Season 2, we go to beard contests where people “forget” to call me on stage or put their friends on the judging panel. My fight is against stupidity and I’m fighting for the future of beard competitions.