How I learnt to embrace my once despised wog-brows

Me and my big wog brows have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. They were once the bane of my existence.

When I say wog I’m referring to the Aussie slang for people (like me) of Eastern Mediterranean heritage. I think when trying to explain the ‘style’ of eyebrows that I am, you need only refer to them in that way and you’ll form an image in your head. (If you’re not sure then Google image search it and then get back here).

At the age of 15, I remember actually standing in front of the bathroom mirror, razor in hand, considering whether or not to shave them completely off. I genuinely thought that would be an improvement to my face-situation. My mum didn’t agree – but what would she know, I thought, she had a loving, harmonious relationship with hers.

Having a Greek Dad, my brother and I unfortunately  inherited this by product from him. 


My older brother was one of the main contributors to my brow-loathing. On a daily basis he would throw the words: mono/ bushman/Frieda (Khalo) my way. He would buy me shavers and tweezers as a ‘present’ to spur my insecurity along but I knew deep down he had a complex about his too because this was back in the day when ‘big, bold brows’ were NOT in.


For most of my teen years I felt like a fugly “wog-browed” unicorn in a world full of perfect, dainty, blonde brows. I envied their fair hair and blue eyes. I was mortified when I watched ‘The Princess Diaries’ for the first time & realised that – I – was Mia Thermopolis (AKA Anne Hathaway). She was my doppelganger (pre-makeover, obviously) – or at least that’s how I felt.


So I’d sit on a small, hard stool for up to an hour –bum well past numb – with a magnifying mirror in my face wondering what the hell I could do to actually improve them. I’d pluck and over-pluck, butchering them but back they’d come, loud and proud.


I eventually decided there was only one thing left to do. I booked myself into the local hairdresser and I told her how much I’d love to have a fringe.



I didn’t actually love fringes. I had no idea whether one would suit me or not and I didn’t have the patience to blow dry it under and ‘style’ it the way it would demand of me, but I didn’t care, as long as it meant my wog-brows were covered, I would be happy.

Rebecca Achelles
I walked out of the salon that day smiling happily, thinking: “Ha. I win.”

I thought I was so clever, like I’d solved an important dilemma for wog-girls everywhere. Like:  “Its okay girls – if you hate your brows, just get a fringe!”


Really, I hadn’t won – because I let my mind convince me I wasn’t good enough as I was, and that I needed to change something that was intrinsically ME to be accepted. I was also vain. Years of teenage modelling to blame for that.


So – why should you care about my 10 year hate-athon with my big bushy brows? Well while your complex may not be your brows, most people have a ‘thing’ they want to change about themselves… wrinkles, tuck shop arms (AKA faddoobadas) crooked teeth/ boobs/lack of six-pack-ness.


As long as you have a mind in there feeding you thoughts all day long, you’ll have ‘problems’. It’s what it does. My mate Nancy is a judging machine. It’s cool – mostly she’s just trying to look out for me.


Russ Harris says:

No matter how hard we try or how much we achieve, our thinking self can always find something to dislike, some way in which we are lacking, deficient or not good enough.”

There’s a reason for that and its because of the way the human mind has evolved over the years. Our ancestors used it as a “don’t get killed” device to help them survive in the tough environment back in the day. Back then it was helpful (and necessary) for their minds to constantly compare them to other members of the clan. It meant that they were less likely to get rejected and it constantly drew attention to their weaknesses, so they could improve on them and thereby live longer.


Only problem is that, now, everyone (well, a lot of us) are walking around feeling inadequate because of it.


So what if you have the problem all wrong? What if its not actually the part of you that’s ugly, but your mind that is tainting it that way? If I’d known 10 years ago that man-brows were going to make such a big comeback I’d have been like: “Yeah, they’ll be hot in 10 years Nancy – you just wait and see… Bitch”


If your mind told you: “I’m a potato”. You wouldn’t listen to it then, you’d be like “Oh don’t be stupid Nancy I’m not a potato”. Can’t you do the same when she tells you this or that is just ‘hideous’ about yourself?


Maybe it’s the truth though, you say.


Well then you say – okay my eyebrows [or insert grievance here] really ARE hideous. They make me look like a man. What am I going to do about it? Can I change the situation? Give myself quintessentially “Australian/thin/blonde brows when I am (and always will be) Greek looking?




Can I remove my eyebrows completely from my face? (Well yes, but its not the ‘fix’ to all your situations to go lobbing off the body parts or features you’re not happy with) – so, no.


All that leaves me with is to accept them. And after a little bit of ‘fine tuning’ I did learn to accept that they are always going to dominate my face.


Ah well. Starving kids in Africa… and meanwhile over here in Australia – Bec’s hung up on her too-big ‘wog-brows’.


Eckhart Tolle – this genius little German man says if something is making you unhappy – Either get rid of the situation (leave), change the situation or accept it. Anything else is just nonsensical. I’m paraphrasing there but your get the picture, LEAVE, CHANGE or ACCEPT.


As to the persistent ‘thoughts’ – part of the puzzle is learning to separate yourself from the mind – the constant chatterer.


Like: “Nancy-judgmental-prick is over there, & I am over here, watching her”.



So I am now a reformed wog-brow hater. I realize they are part of what makes me me and I wouldn’t be me without my big dark brows, big in-your-face eyes and my little-bit crooked teeth. We cant all look like Miranda Kerr, you know.


Have the attitude of– “What do I actually like about myself?” – instead of focusing on what you hate. If you can’t leave or change a situation then learn to accept it and move on. What else can you do? Wallow in self pity? Have fun with that.

Wog brows/self-love/mindfulness


Also seen on The Huffington Post:


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