Long before the #eyebrowsonfleek of latter day, I was 12-years-old and about to get my eyebrows waxed for the first time. I was visiting family in Florida and my dear Aunt Mary insisted it was time to tame the half-Italian, half-Armenian arches I inherited from my father.
We went to a spa and I could see the twinkle in the eyebrow specialist's eye as she took in my tawny, virgin thickets. "You have beautiful eyebrows," she told me. And it was the first time anyone had really told me so. I was slightly nervous, but it went fast: the wax pot simmered, ambient music played, and two lightening fast strip swipes later, my brows were manicured.
I spent the rest of the day getting used to my new look, which was particularly difficult considering the majority of it was spent at Disney World. I braved the throngs of theme park-goers with first-degree redness, smiling off, "Oh, honey, no…" looks of genuine concern. After the redness had subsided, I finally got to absorb my new look. It was the most feminine I'd ever seen myself as a lifelong tomboy. I felt good, but like any pre-teen, I didn't feel great until I returned back to school and received positive reviews from my middle school peers. The whole experience was a blessing and curse.
For one, I had come to see beauty where I never saw it before, something to cherish at such a tender age (or any age, really). On the other hand, it was the gateway for me to fall victim to the pervasive, pre-Cara Delevingne era overplucking trend. Each night I sat in front of the mirror, tweezers in hand, looking for strays hairs. When I couldn't find anymore, I would further shape my brows, obsessed with symmetry. It was a vicious, vicious cycle that continued through high school and into college.
It wasn't until I was 20-years-old, when Miss Delevingne and her power brows began their reign, that I considered that bigger could be better. I put my tweezing on indefinite pause and as my brows began to grow in, I found that I didn't just love what they were doing for my bone structure, but I was starting to feel more "me." It was a strangely infectious feeling. In fact, in the beginning I went full-on hippy dippy with it, not even tending to most stray of hairs. Editors' note: I've since graduated to minimal grooming and brow gel in spades.
As my brows returned to their former bushy glory, I realized that while thick arches were having a moment, they've been a common trait for powerful women throughout history. From Cleopatra, who accented her kohl-rimmed eyes with dark, elongated brows; to Elizabeth Taylor, whose brows were as plentiful as her proverbial dance card on the Old Hollywood scene, these women commanded you #bowtothebrow. And let's not forget Audrey Hepburn, who will always be at the height of elegance with her dense lush of groomed brows. Not bad company to keep, if I do say so myself...
For the past few years, my pronounced, slightly masculine brows have given me a sense of strength, and not just because of the inspiring women who've donned them before me, but because they call for a certain confidence — one that had taken me nearly twenty years to achieve. Accepting my brows at face value, instead of keeping them in a constant state of flux, has been a staggering exercise in learning to appreciate what I've got. And while it helps that brows keep growing both in size and popularity, I'm well aware that the thin eyebrow trend will inevitably boomerang back. But when it does, I can say with conviction that I won't fall back into my old, heavy-handed-with-the-tweezers ways, because some brows aren't meant to be tamed.