Meet Sophia Hadjipanteli.
She’s an Instagram phenom with over 180,000 followers and a model who’s been covered by everyone from Vice to Vogue (she first appeared on the magazine’s Italian webpage six years ago, at 15).
Were she to compete on one of the endless cycles of “America’s Next Top Model,” Hadjipanteli would likely win — or definitely make top three. That’s not just because she has charisma and a smize that would make Tyra Banks beam with pride but because the 21-year-old is uncompromising in her beauty.
She may dye her hair, she might switch from a day to night look, but this model has said she’s never getting rid of her unibrow.
Here’s the thing: Hadjipanteli understands the fashion and beauty industry. She understands that beauty standards — especially in the West — are incredibly narrow. And her refusal to remover her unibrow (something a modeling agent might tell her to do) is a way for her to not just stand out but change the way the mainstream conceptualizes what “beautiful” is.
“It’s like a movement,” Hadjipanteli told Vice in a interview. “If it’s going to be gradual, I hope to speed up the pace.”
But the beginning of that movement doesn’t come without some pain.
Hadjipanteli speaks openly about the fact that she was bullied when she was a teenager. It was her mother who gave her the confidence to be herself, telling her that her brows looked gorgeous just the way they were. Hadjipanteli listened and soon after stopped shaving her brows. She now shows the hair between her eyes proudly — inspired, she’s said in interviews, by her family and Greek heritage.
If her unibrow had a name, she told The Cut, it would be Veronica. And she’d be a “no-shit bitch.”
Hadjipanteli has said she never expected her unibrow to have such an impact, but it’s certainly changing the way we think about beauty.
And Hadjipanteli’s changing for no one.
Though the model’s received hate and death threats for her look, she has said she’s not going to change her look for anyone but herself. If she doesn’t like Veronica one day, she’ll wax her off. Until then, though, Hadjipanteli is standing up to everyone who says there’s only one way of looking good.
Spoiler alert: There isn’t.
And with more celebs like Christina Aguilera (who went viral for her no make-up photoshoot) and Demi Lovato being more real and open about how beauty standards take a toll on women, Hadjipanteli is in very good company.
“I have a unibrow because it is a preference,” the model recently posted on Instagram. “I’m who I am because I want to be this way. When you judge others for wearing makeup, dying their hair, altering parts of their body or inner self, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T, makes you just as toxic as a lot of societal norms and pressures we are constantly faced with. AT THE END OF THE DAY just do you cuz imma be doing me whether you like it or not.”