Model Sophia Hadjipanteli stares intensely into the camera, her gorgeous, wavy brunette hair cascading down on one side, barely obscuring her right cheek. In her arm she holds a giant bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal perfume, her hands adorned with gorgeous, sharp, jet-black nails. Immediately her trademark voluptuous, thick eyebrows steal our gaze as the camera cuts to a closeup, then another of Hadjipanteli clad in boxing gloves, her textured red dress flowing with every spin. Her back to the camera in the final shot, she takes a final half-spin towards the frame, giving us one last look at her captivating visage. It’s no wonder Jean Paul Gaultier has taken her on as a muse for his “#bescandal” campaign, and why she has also graced the campaigns of Chanel and Fenty Beauty.
The uniqueness Hadjipanteli embraces is only one thing that makes her such a powerful force in the modeling sphere, becoming a beacon for unconventional beauty advocacy, stunning us with her strong, bold unibrow. It’s rare to see someone embrace a feature that has been historically absent in typical fashion photography so fiercely, one of the reasons why Hadjipanteli’s social media campaign #UnibrowMovement has taken off so rapidly.
Read the full interview from “The REBEL Issue” below along with original photos by Simon Emmett for The Untitled Magazine.
How did you get started modeling?
My mom is an amazing photographer who taught me everything she knew about cameras. When I started wanting to get into photography, I usually had to double as the model a lot of the time, and eventually found a love for being in front of the camera instead of behind it.
How would you sum up your personal style in a few words?
Halloween at my Yiayia’s house – Yiayia is grandma in Greek. My style is quirky and a little twisted but is rooted in old vintage pieces. The older and more worn out the piece is, the better.
Was your unibrow, something you are known for embracing, ever something you were ashamed of as a young teenager/child?
I think the reason I’m so in love with my eyebrows is because they connect me to my Greek Cypriot heritage. A lot of people where I’m from have really thick brows and beautiful prominent features. I’m lucky that it was normal for me to see my family all have the same eyebrows as myself growing up so I never felt out of place. I never really cared about what other kids thought growing up because I was quite a loner and I think that’s where my self-love journey began. When you only have yourself, you have to protect yourself because no one else will. I wore latex to math class when I was 14 and I couldn’t have cared less what a copy and paste mean girl had to say about my beautiful brows at the time [laughs].
How did you start your #UnibrowMovement campaign, and how has it grown?
I started it as a way for me to meet more like-minded people on Instagram by clicking the hashtag, and it soon became a community for myself and others who ever felt like they didn’t belong. The internet can be a lonely place if you feel like you don’t fit into what is trendy or viral online and I wanted to create a safe place. So many people I know have actually been scouted with my hashtag because a lot of casting directors know that is the place to find people like me online.
Do you see social media as a good tool for activism? What are the pros and cons, in your opinion?
Absolutely, with social media we are given the opportunity and platform to be in the middle of nowhere and reach millions of people. The days of needing to be famous to impact people are honestly dwindling. I love seeing people use it to educate people of their condition, normalize certain styles, explain the crises happening in their country…it’s so powerful. For someone like me who uses it to express myself that’s definitely a pro, and I guess a con is that some people still spread negativity which is a shame.
What advice would you give to other young people who are ashamed to embrace their unique features?
Most people don’t even deserve to walk a mile in your shoes. Keep your head up and remember you can change the world without changing yourself.
What has been your proudest achievement as a model?
Joining the Jean Paul Gaultier team as one of their fragrance ambassadors will always be a highlight for me. JPG taught us and continues to teach us that the freak will always be chic, and it’s an honor to be recognized by him and represent his house.
Are there any upcoming projects or campaigns we can look forward to from you?
You’ll have to wait and see, I’m sure once you see this big black bushy unibrow you won’t miss it!
What progress has the beauty and modeling industry made since you got your start? What else would you like to see more of in beauty campaigns or the industry as a whole?
Seeing the appreciation for unconventional beauty in fashion is something that will never get old. I love seeing inclusivity and diversity because ultimately there are way too many amazing, cool, interesting, and odd looking people out there to just keep using the same “safe” faces. Fashion is meant to shake shit up, I want to see more of that. Fashion is art and art is subjective. I just want people to remember this.
Besides yourself, who do you see as the biggest rebels of the fashion and modeling industry?
Zandra Rhodes will always be the ultimate rebel in the fashion industry for me. She is so unapologetically but brutally herself, and it would be such a dream to reach that level of self-acceptance one day. She’s not only a legend but she is the sort of person that doesn’t even realize how cool she is. Rebels are naturally cool and they don’t have to put much effort into it. She wears her blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick every single day even if she isn’t leaving her house, it’s for no reason other than she wants to and it is who she is. There are far too many people pretending to be something they aren’t to seem cool or trendy. I wish I could tell them being authentically yourself is what makes you a rebel.
What designers or brands do you see right now embracing “non-standard” beauty in a way you appreciate?
Rick Owens is always at the forefront in my head because he manages to make something so stripped down or so built up look so cool. To me his designs are artwork and I love them.
What else is on the horizon for Sophia Hadjipanteli? Any new launches or plans you can share?
I am a guest judge on Greece’s Next Top Model which is super different and exciting for me. I’m known for being a bit weird and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but a lot of people underestimate my impact on fashion and it’s cool to have this opportunity to find more people like me and see them make a name for themselves in the modeling side of fashion.
To read our print feature on Sophia Hadjipanteli, pick up your copy of “The REBEL Issue” here.
Photography by Simon Emmett for The Untitled Magazine
Styling by Rebekah Roy
Make-up by Mary Jane Frost
Hair by Richard Scorer
Photographed in London, UK