CNN – As We Are – Eyebrows

In May 2022, Niamh Thornton was interviewed as part of CNN Style’s focus on Eyebrows as part of their As We Are series:

CNN Style As We Are

There are some great stories, reflections, and insights. The video includes interviews with brow artists, models, and activists as well as one of our collaborators, Professor Penny Spikins.

Media and news

We set up our booth, scanning corner, and photography area in the ground floor of FACT from the 25th – 28th of April. As a consequence of the publicity and buzz around our event, we made the news and local papers. The Liverpool Echo covered us on the 25th and gave a quick overview. Then North West Tonight and BBC Merseyside came to chat to us and covered our story. On North West Tonight at 6.30pm we came at the end of the hard news stories and just before the weather forecast on Friday the 27th. This meant that our event was the moment when the newscasters and the weather person have a little banter. For this segment, they asked each other about their grooming habits and speculated on how to describe the style. The word they used the most was Scousebrow, asking each other whether they would use it to describe their style. This is a term that has been named most by those outside the project and not those who have contributed, which is something we will talk about in more depth when we discuss our findings. The introduction to the feature was lighthearted and friendly. Thanks to the news item and the way it was pitched, we got many more participants through the door who specifically talked about the coverage, which was amazing.

As a follow up, we have also been interviewed by Ngunan Adamu from BBC Merseyside Upfront, who is going to feature our project on her programme. All of this has meant that we have become part of a conversation about the brow on Merseyside, which was one of our aims. The numbers are evidence of this, so too is an overheard conversation on the bus on Friday. Two girls chatting mentioned our event and discussed the language we have been using to describe it. For us, this is success. We want to keep the conversation going, so watch out for more.

Brow Inspiration

Yesterday, Google created a Doodle for the Mexican version of the Mexican actress María Félix on the occasion of her 104th birthday. Her eyebrow movements were the original inspiration for this project. She was born and died on the same date – the 8th of April. The year of her birth is subject to some variation, depending on the source, but she lived a full life and died in 2002 in her eighties. She starred in 47 films and became known as La Doña – a term that denotes respect and authority – after her breakthrough role as the eponymous character Doña Bárbara (Fernando de Fuentes and Miguel M. Delgado, 1943). At the peak of her career (1940s-1950s) she was the best paid actor (male or female) in what was a flourishing industry in Mexico. Mexican film production at the time dominated the Spanish-language market in Latin American and Spain and was widely distributed throughout the world. She occasionally acted in Spanish, Italian, and French productions, but never in English. She lived a celebrity life full of scandal and glamour. By the end of her life she lived in opulent surroundings with her French husband in residences in Paris and Mexico City. Despite all of this fame and renown – or maybe because of it – her work is relatively understudied. For me, one means of understanding her work is to find new ways of discussing the brow so that I can get a keener insight into why, despite her considerable success and skill, women like her are not given the academic attention they deserve.

For more on María Félix see, here and here.

Niamh Thornton, University of Liverpool