Sophia Hadjipanteli, the girl who’s trying to get the unibrow back in style, firmly stood by her unusual choice of eyebrow styling while speaking in a calm and collected tone and revealing that she has recently received a great number of death threats.
According to her, there’s been too many to count. The Cypriot-British model, who has been the star of multiple campaigns for Guess, spoke to UNILAD about her fame.
Hadjipanteli never expected to become famous on the internet, but when her fashion career kicked off when she was 15, it was inevitable. The model was featured on the cover of Vogue Italia.
A piece I did with a friend meant to celebrate the natural woman. I mean I definitely like my natural skin, but I am also not completely granola…yet. Amazing photographer…bad lighting 😏 Lol go check out his and other amazing portfolios on VOGUE Italia in the online portfolio section. (He is getting an instagram so I will tag him in this shortly)
She’s now 21 years old, and is currently studying marketing at the University of Maryland. Sophia’s distinctive look has been sort of her own way of showing the middle finger to the ideals of Western beauty; it even ended up being featured on Instagram’s Explore feed!
Sophia has a mass following of over 150,000 Instagram users, and has now realized that the picture-sharing platform is the perfect field for her to wage her war on society.
And why is Sophia Hadjipanteli receiving hate from people on Instagram? Because of that little bit of body hair between her eyebrows?!
“I’ve had people say they know where I live, what car I drive,” she revealed. “I’ve had people who’ve sent me quite detailed death threats on Instagram follow me while out with my cousin.
“The threats aren’t just ‘Go die’. They can be very vivid. I have a routine of deleting anything negative, because if I don’t I’ll want to respond but I’d rather spend that time saying thank you to the kind comments.”
This is Sophia’s response to the internet trolls:
It’s 50-50 when it comes to the types of comments you’ll see from social media users concerning Sophia’s appearance. Sometimes it can be from a hater suggesting that the model should kill herself because of her ‘hideous’ or ‘ugly’ eyebrows, or it can be comments from people revering Sophia as a ‘goddess,’ washing her away with compliments.
Each and every day, Sophia’s social media routine entails her wasting away her time with a constant ‘click, block, swipe, delete’ defense mechanism against the disgusting internet trolls and their horrendous comments. Hadjipanteli confessed that it has become second nature to her now, and even though she’s disappointed that people think there is something wrong with her, the hate-mail motivates her to prove them wrong.
“I know people’s reactions will either be very positive or very negative,” Sophia told UNILAD. “I wish they were all positive, but they’re not, and that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop what I’m doing.
“I think we’re all hypocrites in some sense, but people pay such close attention to every little detail in the society we live in now, so they’re bound to judge every little thing you do.”
Sophia admitted that, two years ago, she had been a victim of sexual assault while on holiday in Cyprus. The horrible experience completely changed her priorities and she realized what the things that truly mattered to her were. She completely transformed her approach to beauty, realizing that she does not have to conform to anybody else’s beauty ideals.
The model decided that natural is the way she wanted to go, even if that meant having an unibrow. It turned out to be the best decision of her life as Sophia revealed that this choice helped her heal and become more comfortable in her own body.
“Sometimes you just have to tear yourself down to your absolute raw state, Sophia said. “I’m like a hermit crab. That shell I was in before is just not for me anymore.
“But you just take yourself out of your little shell, crawl over to a new one and redevelop yourself – and when that one’s done you move over to a new one.”
Sophia was born and raised in the United States. Her parents, who had immigrated to the country from Cyprus, instilled in her and her brother a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. And good thing they did that, because it sure proved useful when the siblings found themselves the victims of the school bullies.
In the interview, Sophia also spoke about her childhood.
“When I look back on it – some of the stuff I used to wear, from the thrift store and my mum’s closet – I definitely think I just wanted to get a reaction!” she smiled fondly at the memories.
“I think, at times, I did it to spite bullies. You know, if someone bullies you for something you just want to do it ten times harder.
“I guess the mentality I had growing up was ‘If they’re going to be rude to me for the way I am, I’m just going to be myself even more’.”
As children, Sophia and her brother were both diagnosed with ADHD, a mental disorder that affects a person’s attention span, ability to sit still, and self-control. This is why they were often at the receiving end of physical and emotional bullying as kids.
The model was careful not to throw around the word ‘bully’ too lightly, but she admitted that her peers would sometimes throw rocks at her and other times dip her clarinet reed in the toilet without her knowledge.
“I was tremendously bullied. I was tormented everyday. Everyday, I would eat lunch alone in the bathroom or in the library.”
Her childhood memories are not to be interpreted as a sob story: hers is meant to be an encouraging story. Sophia claims that she ‘never shed a single tear’’.
Nowadays, the young model’s courage in the face of danger from the online world is completely understandable. When Sophia was a child, she recalled that her eyebrows were ‘never really a thing’ that her peers taunted her about. She remembered being frustrated because her mother would not allow her to pluck them when she was little.
Today, Sophia shares her experience with bullying in order to give advice to others who might be going through the same issue. The model said that she always keeps in mind that she ‘hasn’t even met half the people’ that she will throughout her life yet.
Even if she appreciates the well-meaning compliments, Sophia feels there’s more to her than her appearance.
“The only thing people in my Greek-Cypriot culture and in my community would say to me was, ‘Oh you’re so pretty’ and ‘Your parents are so lucky to have such a beautiful daughter’.
“But in a way, I just felt I had so much more to offer.”
Whether it was her intention or not, by opting for an aesthetic that has never been accepted by society’s beauty standards, Sophia has now become the face of the rebel campaign against the old-fashioned opinion according to which a woman’s major source of pride should be the way she looks.
But there is only one thing that makes Sophia truly angry (apart from internet trolls).
“I hate it when people say I’m doing this for attention. You know what? I had a unibrow long before I had Instagram.
“People say if I got rid of my unibrow I’d just be normal… But normal is so subjective!”
As people begin to suggest that the fact women have started growing hair on their bodies is a desperate cry for attention, one cannot help but notice that in their rush to point an accusing finger, they have missed one tiny detail: hair growth is a completely natural process and it grows whether you want it ot or not!
Here’s an eye-full of that magnificent unibrow:
Sophia has kept the same attitude she’s worn since she was four: even if she’s the smallest, she will yell the loudest. Her standing up for herself might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the ripple effects of her actions are bound to influence people’s perceptions in more than one way.
That’s why Sophia is, in the end, grateful for the extra attention she never wanted. It has made her transform herself from “the girl with a unibrow” into the “girl with a unibrow who is resilient”.
But what do you think of Sophia’s attitude? Has she made a wrong decision or is she an inspiration for women everywhere to stop trying to please everyone else and just focus on being happy in their own skin?