Back in 2015, David Letterman made the news when, after many shaven years on our screens, he decided to warm his chin with a fine beard.
The press was all over it, labeling his efforts an ‘achievement beard’. An article by the New Yorker defined the beard as “a marker of triumphant lassitude, the victory lap after a long job well done”, and in Letterman’s case, it felt like the crowning glory of his lifetime work. Finally, he could grow the facial hair he’d always wanted, free from the constraints of producers and directors wanting a clean-cut image.
However, that also led to claims the beard was a retirement beard, an indication of a man no longer having anything to be clean-cut for. Letterman no longer needed to shave daily; his beard represented his work ending. That feels a little too definitive and disparaging on what was a fine facial fur. With that in mind, we’ve found examples of achievement beards that were not, or are not, the end of a person’s career to prove that Letterman’s beard was indeed something to admire rather than pity.
CREDIT: By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Tom Hardy started life as a clean-cut model, popping up in British gangster films such as Layer Cake and RocknRolla, before heading to Hollywood to break the hearts of women and men across the Atlantic. He’s been in the Revenant, Capone, Child 44 and Mad Max: Fury Road, amongst others. Capone came out in 2022, and Hardy will surely have other projects to focus on over the coming years.
Now he’s made it as a big screen star; he’s also not averse to wearing an achievement beard outside of his roles. Hardy is a heartthrob if ever there was one, but when he began wearing a beard, it was a tentative toe-dip in the water. These days, he looks more like John Fitzgerald, his role in the Revenant, than he ever did, and that’s because he has achieved what he wished for and has the beard to prove it. He is believed to have wrestled his director on the set of the 2015 hit, as well as playing poker behind the scenes, but only now does his beard have the air of achievement, rather than simple rugged manliness.
CREDIT: By FILMORA NEWS,,
Dan Bilzerian will instantly divide opinion. The social media star has risen to fame on the back of his opulent lifestyle, reportedly funded by his position as one of the world’s richest poker players. The source of his wealth is disputed – it’s not clear if he got it going all in or received a healthy sum from his father, convicted takeover specialist Paul Bilzerian. However, he made his money; he’s unlikely to have to worry about the cost of living crisis all that much. He still has business interests and appears regularly on his social media, proving his days of achieving are not over yet.
Bilzerian’s beard is the stuff of legends – it’s well groomed, shaped and styled, but it is worn by a man who has achieved what he wishes to. His garage is a veritable full house of wonderful cars. His home is opulent and comfortable, and his bank balance has more noughts on it than you or I. He has a beard that screams achievement, whatever dubious route he took to get there.
CREDIT: By Mark Warner – MRW_4445.jpg, CC BY 2.0,
It seems a long while since anyone was associated with Twitter other than Elon Musk, but the Tesla supremo must not quite have achieved what he wants to as yet, because he hasn’t tried to sport some winning facial appendage. That can’t be said of Twitter’s eccentric former top man, Jack Dorsey, who has one of the world’s finest achievement beards. In his younger days, Dorsey worked as a model at a time when beards probably didn’t get onto the catwalk, but later in life, he founded Twitter and achieved his dreams.
That’s led to a rather wonderful achievement beard, something almost too easy to describe as the epitome of an achievement beard. The billionaire has even gone as far as to do away with his actual hair, creating the Hell’s Angel look of a balding head and fine, ever-expanding beard. Why not? He’s achieved more in his 46 years than most will in a lifetime, so he has the time and means to give his face fur the best beard shampoo, oil and grooming known to man.