Ghoulish ghoulish girls love skinny brows and a Kubrick stare
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a ghoul girl. Being the ghoul girl means you are a sullen, sultry, vampy woman who adores skinny brows, jet black hair and a Kubrick stare.
The cool girl is dead. The ghoul girl killed her. If you’ve been scrolling through social media recently you might be aware that the girls have gone goth. Not trad goth, but a very specific, high fashion, bleached-brow version of goth. It’s bad girl Angelina Jolie in her blood vial era. It’s Wednesday Addams if she grew up, got a job in Milan and picked up a coke habit. It’s Arca’s long, jet-black hair, with a 90s skinny brow and a succubus smoulder. Cheeks are hollow and cheekbones are prominent. There’s not an ounce of buccal fat in sight.
The main players of this it-girl new aesthetic are Gabbriette and Amelia Gray. Noah Cyrus, Dove Cameron and model Amata Alp are doing it, and two days ago Kylie Jenner got in on the craze, bleaching her eyebrows and perfecting her killer stare. Mia Goth is adjacent to the aesthetic, but doesn’t quite meet the dark hair requirement, while Ethel Cain is the Southern Gothic version. Three main components make up the look: dark, if not black, hair; brows bleached off or plucked to within an inch of their life; and hollow cheeks.
The succubus chic look is so specific, even down to the pose: a bowed head and a dead-eyed Kubrick stare that’s both a siren call and a deadly warning. It’s not surprising that the similarities have been acknowledged and capitalised on by Sonoraboots in a campaign that cast Gabbriette and Amelia Gray with a tagline, “Which one is the evil twin?”
The original blueprint for this look is, without a doubt, Angelina Jolie in the early noughties. The ultimate sexy bad girl, she looked, at all times, like she just hopped off a motorcycle and was about to hustle some Hell’s Angels at pool. “Born to be wild” is the title of an Elle magazine editorial from 2000 which features Jolie staring down the camera with the look that’s now become the signature for the ghoul girl aesthetic. With her skinny brows, high cheekbones and pouty lips, the leather and the tattoos, she’s clearly the spiritual godmother of the succubus chic gals.
While Angie is the OG, Gabbriette can also be credited as a more recent blueprint for the look, which she has sported since at least 2019. Gray, on the other hand, only joined the club in May when she bleached her brows. Since then she’s alternated between no brows and skinny brows and seen her career in high fashion skyrocket, being cast in shows like Diesel, Balenciaga, and Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood. In reaction to comparisons being made between Gabbriette, Gray and Alp, many commenters were adamant that Gabbriette is the original. “Gabbriette is literally the blueprint because why are they like stealing her face???” said one commenter. “Gabriette should sue,” [sic] wrote another to 1.2K likes.
This aesthetic comes as we’ve been seeing a gradual shift away from the focus on wellness, skincare and the ‘clean girl’ look, towards a messier, Indie Sleaze vibe. Last year, Trend forecaster The Digital Fairy predicted we’d soon be in the “post-wellness party girl” phase of beauty, while recent popular make-up trends like accentuating eye bags and smudged, messy eyeliner suggest people are tired of looking clean, polished and wholesome. It also ties into the siren eyes and ‘dark feminine energy’ trends that have been dominating on TikTok.
Ghoul girls represent a darker side of the it-girl. Their prevalence shows that maybe the Wednesday Addams craze wasn’t a fluke, but a sign of a wider shift on the part of culture and fashion towards the goth. Given the current terrifying state of the world, it’s perhaps unsurprising that people are taking solace in the macabre, leaning into a darker energy that can be both deadly and seductive.