The Real Reason Elizabeth Holmes Always Wears Dark Eye Makeup

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.

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