The eye(brow)s have it in new book

A new book is taking a tongue-in-cheek look at the amount of time, energy, pain and money that goes into perfecting the eyebrow.


“Pluck This: An A-to-Z Eyebrow Fantasia,” written by Melissa Markoff and illustrated by Julia Hartling, uses poems and illustrations dedicated to each letter of the alphabet to celebrate the many ways the famous and the fabulous have used their eyebrows to express their individualism.

“The eyebrow is the one feature of your face that you can change without plastic surgery and make a dramatic difference,” Markoff said. “Julia and I live on the Main Line and we observe many things about the people here and their fashion choices. We find it fascinating, especially for Julia, because she comes from Tartarstan, Russia. She thought it was interesting how much attention to detail people paid to their appearances. She had wanted to write a book and she thought it might be interesting to explore appearances and how we deal with them through the lens of the eyebrow.”

“I’m interested in beauty in general and how our ideas of beauty change through time, and how plastic those ideas are,” Hartling added. “We can love something and 100 years later it’s considered to be a terrible feature.”  

Not surprisingly, a number of gay icons make appearances in “Pluck This,” including Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol, as well as fashion icons like Anna Wintour and Queen Elizabeth.

“I realized after I read the book how many LGBT icons there were,” Markoff said. “I think I’m very influenced by LGBT culture. It wasn’t really conscious. We were generating what subject we would have for each letter. I just brainstormed things I was interested in, then I realized that many of them were part of LGBT culture.”  

Markoff said she hopes that the book’s combination of her humorous perspective and Hartling’s artistic sensibilities will appeal to a large audience.

“We wanted to create something that was fun, engaging and beautiful to look at for eyebrow-obsessives, art lovers and humor geeks alike,” Markoff said. “We hope the book’s underlying message of self-acceptance comes through. We’re living in an exciting time when our culture is expanding the notion of what is beautiful.”

“Pluck This: An A-to-Z Eyebrow Fantasia,” is available now. For more information, visit