Nicknamed the "Wolf Man" because of excessive body hair, Larry Gomez has now learned how to embrace this unusual appearance. Shying away for years to avoid bullies, he has now grown proud of being the world's hairiest man.
The California man is suffering from congenital generalised hypertrichosis due to which 98% of his of body, including his face, is covered with thick black hair. He holds the Guinness World Record for largest hairiest family, awarded in February 2000, that includes his three other family members.
Gomez's childhood was tough because of his appearance as he had to face bullies, who taunted him using funny names. He almost lost his confidence but, over the years has learned to deal with the reality and now, proudly shows off his status as the world's hairiest man.
The Daily Mail reported earlier that Gomez along with his brother, Gabriel, used to work with the Mexican National Circus, but soon he realised that he has the ability to do something big. He earned recognition in Hollywood after working in a movie, Water for Elephants.
For the 2011 movie, he chose the stage name Larry, drawing inspiration from the main character, Lawrence, of the 1941 film, The Wolf Man.
Gomez's new found love for himself also helped him find his lady love, Alicia Martinez, whom he met when searching for an apartment in 2011.
Talking about his unusual appearance and urging people to love themselves for who they are, the young man said: "Not many people in the world have this condition, I believe like six or eight people and I am the hairiest one. Being one of the hairiest guys in the world, for me, means I'm special and famous too.
"A lot of people ask me questions like, 'were you born like this?" or, 'how do you live with this?' And I say well I have to live with this because I have it and I don't know any other way. This is my normal life, you know what I'm saying?"
Recently, Travis Hoefle, who runs a YouTube Channel, Wizard of Odd TV, came to California to interview Gomez. The filmmaker said that the hairiest man likes to groom his hair once a month.
Based on his interaction with Gomez, Hoefle added: "I can tell he's a very caring person and a real family man. Wolf man's outlook on life is very positive and inspirational - life is hard but you have to make the best of it each and every day."
What is congenital generalised hypertrichosis?
Hypertrichosis is a condition that leads to excessive amount of hair growth all over a human body. It is a rare genetic disorder that strikes less than 100 people worldwide.
According to Medical News Today, in people with congenital hypertrichosis, genes get reactivated in the womb. However, the exact cause of how it is genetically transferred to new generations is still not known.
There is another type of hypertrichosis, which is acquired hypertrichosis that develops later in a person's life. The reasons behind it are malnutrition, poor diet or certain eating disorders, like anorexia, cancer and cell mutation, and autoimmune and infectious diseases affecting the skin.
No known permanent treatment is available for this condition as yet. However, cosmetic procedures, such as bleaching, trimming, shaving, waxing, chemical depilatories, and electrosurgical epilation are options to get rid of excess hair.