Facial hair extraordinaire

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mosquito control expert by day, facial hair extraordinaire by night — that’s the unique claim to fame Suffolk’s Charles Abadam now owns.

Abadam, who works for the city of Suffolk as its mosquito control superintendent, was announced as the winner of the 2016-17 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award on Oct. 29 in Pittsburgh at the Beards for Beasts facial hair competition, which raised money for Pittsburgh-area animal welfare organizations. The award is sponsored by Can You Handlebar, a company that produces facial hair styling products.

Abadam strutted his stuff on the stage with a mustache and goatee styled to curvaceous perfection, but he had already been chosen as the winner. Nominations for the award were accepted, and finalists chosen by the American Mustache Institute were unveiled for online voting in October. Abadam garnered 59 percent of the vote.

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“It was really cool,” said Abadam, who was nominated by the president of the Hampton Roads Beard and ‘Stache Society, of which he is a member. “A lot of people that I’ve met in the bearding clubs throughout the East Coast are like, ‘I voted for you.’ I’m very honored that these people remember me.”

Suffolk mosquito control superintendent Charles Abadam shows off his mustache and goatee.

Suffolk mosquito control superintendent Charles Abadam shows off his mustache and goatee.

Abadam has been putting his facial hair up for judging at competitions for several years now. He has several different ways he styles his facial hair. It takes him about three to four hours to get ready for competition, he said. He uses wax and hairspray to hold his style in place.

“I make sure I take enough time before I have to be at the competition to style it up,” he said.

Abadam said he started growing a mustache in high school but used to shave it off every once in a while. But he eventually came to realize the facial hair made him look older.

As a Filipino, he has a young complexion, he said. The facial hair helps him look older.

“Without it I look super, very young,” he said. “It ages you enough to be respected and gain some clout.”

The facial hair gets him noticed and remembered even outside of the competition world. If he has to call someone he’s met only one time, he introduces himself as “Charles with the goatee.”

“They really remember an impressionable face,” he said.

Abadam said he enjoys competing in facial hair competitions not for the prestige but for the relationships he has formed with others he has met, especially through the local club.

“I would have never met these guys other than the fact they have beards and mustaches,” he said. “They’re really good people, I love them.”

The Hampton Roads Beard and ‘Stache Society conducts an annual competition with the proceeds going to VetsHouse, which provides housing for homeless veterans. That’s another reason Abadam finds competing rewarding.

He also said he has been able to share about the importance of mosquito control and public health with the crowd at the recent competition.

“I want to make sure people in their communities support mosquito control,” he said. “People don’t remember them unless they’re getting bit by mosquitoes.”