Elizabeth Holmes' face is everywhere right now: on the front page of newspapers, in tabloids, shown alongside press coverage of the two documentaries and full-length biopic that will soon make the now-disgraced Theranos founder even more inescapable.
When someone is dominating the news cycle to the extent that Holmes is right now, it's hard not to take a closer look at the way they style themselves for public consumption. In Holmes' case, that means black turtlenecks, dyed blonde hair, and a French manicure — and, perhaps most notably, eyes ringed with thick black eyeliner and dark eyeshadow.
Wearing dark eye makeup daily might not seem like a particularly meaningful beauty choice, but image consultants say Holmes' commitment to the look is actually quite telling. "Sometimes, a person who wants to have control or wants to exert dominance over a situation thinks they can achieve that kind of control through a more high-contrast look in their makeup," says Michael Christian, an image consultant based in Yonkers, New York.
New York City-based image consultant Carol Davidson sees that, too. "To me, it had a very strong, aggressive feel to it," she says. "It feels like that was playing into that strong, 'can play in a man's world' kind of vibe. It's almost like she's trying to assert her dominance through this intense, alpha makeup."
On the other hand, Amanda Sanders, also a New York City-based image consultant, thinks Holmes' rings of black liner could convey something much less calculated: her way of treating her makeup as an afterthought. For a woman as busy as Holmes, something as seemingly trivial as eyeliner application may have not been a real concern. "It's not out of the question that she thought, If I were to wear this makeup for going out, why wouldn't I do it again if I'm trying to be taken seriously as the head of something?" Sanders says. "That being said, it certainly is very 'listen to me, hear me' makeup."
Between the intense eye makeup and the fact that Holmes hardly ever blinks, you've got a woman who pretty clearly wants to grab your attention — and keep it.