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Birchbox Man Q&A: Movember’s Mark Hedstrom

Last year, Movember hit 1.1 million participants worldwide. That’s a whole lot of furry upper lips from its 2003 inception, when it comprised just 30 guys in Melbourne growing mustaches for fun. Even more impressively, last year they raised a whopping $147 million worldwide ($21 million in the US alone) for men’s health causes. On the eve of the big mustache month, we were lucky enough to speak with Movember’s USA Country Director to ask him about this year’s theme, the Mo Sista movement, and his personal mustache hero.

BB Man: What was the inspiration behind this year’s theme, Generation Mo?

Hedstrom: This is our 10th campaign, so it was a great chance to reflect on where we’ve been, from starting as a small movement in the Melbourne community. When we took a look back we realized how cross-generational Movember has become. My father is now a two-year Mo Bro—previously he hadn’t had a mustache since the ‘80s. While a generation is typically defined by an age range, this is a generation of men and women of all ages that have committed to changing the way we look and talk about men’s health. We’re realizing that this is really a movement. ‘Gen Mo’ captures that movement.

BB Man: Any tips for growing a strong and full mustache to blow away the competition?

Hedstrom: There are no PEDs for mustache growth—that I’m aware of. But I know that platypus or mink oil is a secret weapon of a few people in our office. I just try to comb mine every morning when I get up and keep food out of it.

BB Man: What’s your favorite day of the month in Movember?

Hedstrom: For me it’s the 1st. It's a time when everyone is having launches, and we’ve got all kinds of pictures and communications coming from folks everywhere. It’s huge. It’s kicking everything off. It’s what we plan for all year and it’s great to see the interaction we get.

BB Man: How do you convince a man who has had a mustache his entire life that he should shave it off for Movember?

Hedstrom: It’s really about the commitment to changing your appearance. Just like you are committing to growing a mo—and in the first couple weeks looking awkward with a really bad mustache—I would ask the same of the men who have rocked them their whole lives. The moment you shave it off on November 1, it’s going to spark a conversation. And that’s the point. It also gives you a chance to recycle some of your mustache hairs.

BB Man: Do you have a mustache hero? Does everyone in the office have someone different?

Hedstrom: For me it’s the straight-line Tom Selleck look—soul patches never work for me. Frank Zappa is always a big hit around the office. We have a whole wall dedicated to famous Mo’s throughout history at the office.

BB Man: What’s the best way for Mo Sistas to show support? How can they get involved?

Hedstrom: Mo Sistas are part of our community, and they are just as important as the guys are to what we’re trying to do. Women are influencers in how guys think about their own health. They’re the ones that typically make decisions in the household around health. Building on that idea in terms of how they participate—they are the cheerleaders. They recruit and run the teams, they bring people in and provide support.

My wife gives me a wink and a nod and says, “This is going to be here for a little while and I’m going deal with it because I know you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself.”

For more tips, tools, and helpful advice on growing a glorious 'stache, check out our Movember hub.

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