Ella Emhoff: ‘I think everyone should just embrace their little unibrows’

I remember being slightly horrified when big, bushy eyebrows came back into style. I’ve never had big, thick eyebrows. My eyebrows, if I leave them alone, will simply look unkempt, with random hair growing in every direction, some of them making a break for my hairline. I feel it’s necessary for me to pluck, early and often. I don’t think I could grow a full unibrow, but I know that space above the bridge of my nose would look unkempt if I didn’t pluck. As it turns out, Ella Emhoff – aka VP Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter – is pro-unibrow. As you can see in close-ups, she’s growing out her unibrow hairs on purpose:

“Browfluencer” Ella Emhoff would like you to stop over-plucking your arches. The 22-year-old stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris recently modeled in Balenciaga’s show during Paris Fashion Week, taking Vogue behind the scenes — and dropping some beauty advice in the process.

“When I was younger I would pluck my middle brow area, but I recently stopped and it’s amazing,” said the second daughter, who went viral in January by seemingly wiggling her eyebrows at former VP Mike Pence during the inauguration.

“I think everyone should just embrace their little unibrows,” she added.

This Fashion Month, the Parsons School of Design grad has walked runways for Proenza Schouler and Miu Miu in addition to Balenciaga, where she modeled a baggy all-black matching set comprised of an oversized turtleneck and knit trousers.

[From Page Six]

I mean, God bless. I couldn’t. I can’t do anything with my eyebrows except what I already do, try to pluck them into looking presentable. I don’t really understand this move over the past decade to make big, bushy, filled-in brows into a thing, nor do I get this “unibrows are awesome” thing. Also: I’m shocked by how different Ella looks without glasses, and styled with sleek hair. She really does have a lovely face. I wonder if that’s why she can pull off the unibrow – it’s some kind of white-woman pretty privilege.

Embed from Getty Images

Kamala Harris' stepdaughter Ella Emhoff and her boyfriend Sam Hine leave Rihanna's Met Gala after-party  in NYC

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Getty, Ella’s Instagram.

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43 Responses to “Ella Emhoff: ‘I think everyone should just embrace their little unibrows’”

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  1. PrincessPossum says:

    I like the idea of it, but I agree that it’s acceptance will be probably limited to a very specific type of thin pretty white girl. There’s a very specific pale thin androgynous look thats gaining favor right now.

  2. Eurydice says:

    Yeah – “I’m embracing my individuality, so you all should look just like me, too.”

  3. OriginalLala says:

    On one hand, its nice to see anyone pushing back at the dumb ideas society has about women and hair, on the other hand, acceptance and celebration of this is still limited to young, thin, white woman of means.

    • Margot says:

      Excellent point.

    • SophieJara says:

      The wonderful poet Alok (AlokVMenon on Instagram) does a ton of great scholarship on race, color, gender, and body hair. And they are someone who has their physical safety threatened in the street by their combination of hair and gender presentation and can speak to the actual ugliness people face. They also have the most gorgeously groomed body hair I’ve ever seen!

  4. Juliette says:

    I have to constantly keep on top of the plucking. I got microbladed last week and I love it.

    Not painless (although I was numbed) but they look so much better. Highly recommend for anyone that battles their brows.

  5. paranormalgirl says:

    I embrace the bushiness my brows can get, but I don’t like the way the straggly hairs between my brows look. I tweeze the straggly hairs and the errant hairs that weigh my brows down. Then I fill in any sparse areas and stick it all together with a tinted brow gel. That is what frames my eyes nicely. “Everyone” should not do something just because one person thinks they should.

  6. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    Lola Leon (Madonna’s first daughter) has been rocking her unibrow for years. But Not the upper lip mustache though like Ella. I don’t think unibrows limited to skin color but rather nose shape. The two young women have similar noses.

    • HandforthParish says:

      Actually Lola has lost her unibrow- she’s more Lily Collins, as in thick and unkempt, but plucked in the middle.
      I think it just looks messy- all I can see is eyebrows.

  7. Milygu says:

    Obviously it’s a matter of personal taste, but her look does nothing for me.

  8. HandforthParish says:

    Further to my previous comment, I find her very annoying. She gives me Dunham vibes- entitled ‘cool’ hipster.
    We often scream nepotism when average celebrity children become models or actors- why is no-one mentioning this with her?

    • Summergirl says:

      I totally agree (and I absolutely love Kamala Harris). Ella Emhoff is a prime example of nepotism and white privilege. The fashion world wouldn’t be giving her the time of day if Kamala Harris weren’t her stepmother. And I agree she has an annoying smug entitled hipster vibe.

    • Anne says:

      I agree.

    • Calypso says:

      Absolutely agreed, and I’m also a Kamala fan. If Kamala had children/step-children of color there would be vocal outrage about the nepotism.

    • Driver8 says:

      Yep. Can’t.Stand.Her.

    • molly says:

      She’s A LOT, yes, but fame found her (and the tsunami of hate that came with it) at 19. Not a life I’d wish on anyone.

      I’m curious how she’ll handle the next 10+ years though.

  9. Stacy Dresden says:

    I like her. Sure – keep your unibrows, ladies. My little daughter has one and I think it’s charming.

    • Amanda says:

      Hey @Stacey…no obligation to reply, but does your daughter ask about hers? Mine is 6 and she pointed out that she has a unibrow…I tell her yep! It’s cute, it’s you and they’re natural! But I think it’s bugging her and kids being kids are starting to point it out too. I guess I’m just trying to get an opinion: if she asks to have it removed, what do I say? I’m so liberal and open to everything – shave or don’t shave! Wear makeup or don’t wear make up! Hair long, short or shaved – you do you! I just don’t know how to handle this one…

      • HME says:

        @amanda – I hope you don’t mind someone else weighing in on this. IMHO if your daughter asks to have it removed because it’s bothering her I say let her. I don’t have a unibrow but I’ve had acne since I was twelve so I know what it’s like to have something on your face that falls outside the standard beauty norms. Even if nobody says anything you still feel self conscious because you can see that you are different from everyone else. And the thing that sucks is inevitably some people will make comments because some people are assholes. I can remember kids pointing out my pimples when I was in Junior high and it made me feel like crap. My mom did everything she could to help me deal with my acne back then and I’m grateful for that. As for unibrows despite people like Ella here saying unibrows are in the truth is we are a LONG way away from them being accepted on everyone by everyone. So yeah I’d say let her remove it IF she asks to.

        If she decides she wants to remove her unibrow I’d recommend trying the flawless electric razor they make especially for eyebrows. I use their original facial one on my moustache and chin hairs and it works great, is safe (nothing you can cut yourself on) and completely painless.

      • Amanda says:

        @HME….thank you thank you thank you! Your advice is wise and you’re so kind to respond.

        Your comment had me choking up – I hate that *you* had to deal with that, and I hate that *she* has to deal with that. People can be so cruel. I want her to be so confident in herself to not care what they say, but I also want to respect her feelings.

        Thanks again!

      • Stacy Dresden says:

        @Amanda I’m sure it will come up more seriously in conversation in the next few years but for now she has a very high self confidence and isn’t too worried about it. I am cliche and even tell her now and then, “your body, your choice”! She is 8 and extremely beautiful. I wish I could protect her from negative homogenizing cultural forces but I know it’s going to be there.

      • Laura says:

        You are right telling your daughters “your body your choice”. I had a unibrow when I was a kid, I wad very unconformable with it. I wanted to pluck it when I was a teenager but my mother was “no, don’t, you are beautiful, frida khalo etc”. I was miserable and plucked it in secret, it was a distaster. Now I pluck it in the middle, and I think that’s cool that some it-girls embrace their unibrows. I won’t do it myslef but if a lot of girls were like that when I was a teen, maybe I wouldn’t be that uncomfortable. In a perfect world we wouldn’t care, but well …

  10. lucy2 says:

    I think just do what makes you happy. Some people prefer to be all natural, some prefer to sculpt and contour. As long as it’s your own choice and not societal pressure, do whatever.

  11. Veronika says:

    I can’t, can’t, can’t have a unibrow. See, I’m a 90s girl. So the pencil thin spermy brows were my thing & I’ve struggled long & hard to fight the urge to over tweeze and just have normal looking brows.
    I’ve come such a long way, ladies, I truly have.
    If I take it as far as a unibrow, well …I’m afraid I’ll spiral back to 90s brows.

  12. Mina_Esq says:

    Hard pass on the unibrow, but God bless if you’re into that.

  13. BOOGIE says:

    I do not think it’s white thin pretty privilege per se because she is not pretty. I wouldn’t be commenting if someone hadn’t said that explicitly and if she weren’t also building a career around her looks. I think even without the unibrow she would look wan and off-putting. With it… she looks like one of the McPoyles from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I know there is a difference between catalogue and runway model, but I don’t think her look qualifies as either.

    • remarks says:

      I don’t think she’s model “pretty” either (not in the vein of what we’re used to seeing from models anyway and definitely not in the top photo chosen), but doesn’t she basically get to be considered pretty because she’s white?

      • Calypso says:

        Yeah basically. There is an increasing amount of discourse about how white privilege and pretty privilege overlap so much; basically any average-looking thin white woman is considered pretty because of white privilege, more so if she’s blonde. However, a Black woman, particularly with dark skin, must be exceptionally beautiful and done up to be considered as “pretty” as an average white woman.

      • BOOGIE says:

        @Calypso and @Remarks- thank you for telling me! I was unaware of how persistent that was. When I think model I think Coco Rocha, Halima Aden (before retirement), Liu Wen, Joan Smalls, Adriana Lima, Adut Akech. I think of gorgeous women hands down, and the ones who spring to mind aren’t all automatically white.

        I don’t understand how white women are elevated in terms of beauty simply because of skin tone and thinness- but sadly I can believe it.

  14. EEeeee says:

    I’ve never had to pluck my eyebrows (except for strays), but now, I’m contemplating microblading or tatooing them, since they are becoming sparse as I get older.

    • Grant says:

      One of my girlfriends swears by microblading. I think you really need to have sparser/blonder eyebrow hair to really benefit from microblading, as I understand it.

  15. Grant says:

    Not a fan of the unibrow on anyone–man, woman, anyone. Just my opinion.

  16. remarks says:

    The unibrow probably works on her face because it’s not that….something (noticeable? I don’t know what word works here). The uni-brow doesn’t look that out-of-ordinary on her face. She’s also rich, so people are probably nicer to her by default and shrug when they see her.

    But we’d likely comment on a unibrow on Cindy Crawford’s face.

    Anyway, she can do what she wants. Doesn’t mean I have to take her fashion advice though.

  17. bettyrose says:

    I love that Ella dresses like me at her age in the 90s. Except my clothes were thrift and hers are probably designer. I never bought into the skinny eye brow trend, but I also don’t have a uni brow. I like my brows, but I’m not tall and svelt. Short and curvy right here.

  18. Jaded says:

    No to the unibrow. I’m fortunate enough to have reasonably thick eyebrows and need only minimal plucking but I have some hairs that grow ridiculously long so I take a brow brush and comb them straight up and trim off the ends so that the hairs are even.

  19. Mcmmom says:

    No to the unibrow, but I’m a big fan of more substantial eyebrows. I have Brooke Shields brows and while I wax them enough to have a clean edge, I don’t pluck – and I now use a bit of pencil to fill in any gaps. I think they frame the face much better than those pencil-thin ones.

    Don’t overpluck – because they will eventually stop growing! My mom used to pluck and now they are totally gone.

  20. Ana170 says:

    Until this moment, I didn’t know the unibrow was something people could just decide to grow. Huh.

  21. Nancy Lee says:

    My mom took me for electrolysis of my unibrow when I was 11. I had no idea what it was about, but by the time I was 15 I was so glad to have had it done. Anyway, kudos to anyone who is comfortable and confident with their body hair.

  22. Margles says:

    I have thick eyebrows but was lucky enough to never have any hairs in the center. I like how people in general look with thicker brows so it’s been cool seeing them all around.