A 22-year-old model from South Carolina is speaking out against critics who have voiced disapproval of her unibrow.
Growing up, Haylee Michalski, a native of Charleston, said she always had dreams of being a model and working in the fitness industry.
“I didn’t really know how to take care of myself when it came to skin care and beauty, so I constantly felt the need to pluck my eyebrows and wear heavy makeup,” she told In The Know.
As she got older, however, Michalski realized that, makeup and eyebrow-plucking aside, she needed to stand out among her peers. So, she decided to forego trimming her brows.
“There are a lot of good-looking people in the modeling industry, but there are those that have something interesting and unique about themselves,” she said. “I wanted my unibrow to be something that made me who I am and help embrace the beauty I see in myself and others with a unibrow.”
Last summer, Michalski moved to New York after signing with a modeling agency. She said she immediately felt welcomed.
“New York is very full of versatile people, so my unibrow didn’t really look odd to anyone,” she said. “Yes, a unibrow is not ideal, but it’s not unusual. New York is familiar with fashion — I’m sure those that see it understand how it could relate in the modeling world.”
But when the pandemic forced Michalski to move back home to Charleston, she suddenly found herself facing a flood of criticism for sporting her natural look.
“The South is a different story,” she said. “People aren’t used to change, and they may not understand the unibrow. They stare and make comments, but I think it’s just because they don’t see it as their version of normal or ‘pretty.'”
The 22-year-old model said she has seen social media users leave negative comments on her profiles — one person reportedly compared her brows to the McDonald’s logo, for example. Furthermore, modeling agencies have told her that her natural look is not desirable.
“I’ve been told my natural look will not attract clients, that I need to clean it up and get rid of the unibrow because it is not the ideal look for a model,” she said. “But I feel like my unibrow gives me something to stand out and be different, and isn’t that the point of being a model?”
Still, amid the negative feedback, Michalski has tried her best to remain above the fray. She told In The Know that she has fortunately received work as a model back home. She also recently launched the Unibrow Project on Instagram in the hopes of empowering those who have similarly decided to stick with their natural look.
“I am so tired of being told by society what the definition of ‘pretty’ is,” she said. “I feel pretty with my unibrow so why doesn’t having a unibrow make me ‘pretty?’ I want people to know that it is okay to embrace body hair and unique features about themselves. Be proud, have pride in your uniqueness, even if the unique thing about you is a unibrow. Have #unibrowpride.”
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about Ellie Goldstein, a model with Down syndrome who is now the face of Gucci’s latest beauty campaign.
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