Are those things real?

Along with oil in the gulf and the Big 10/Big 12 mess, here’s one of the questions that keeps me up at night: Where the hell are Whoopi Goldberg’s eyebrows?

I’ve put a lot of thought but not a lot of research into this, but I can tell you that she had them when she appeared in The Color Purple (1985.) But what happened the next year, when she did Jumpin’ Jack Flash? They’re gone!

Whoopi Goldberg

As you can see in this copy of a photo, when I met Caryn Johnson (aka Whoopie Goldberg) in 2000 she didn't have eyebrows. I have enough to share with her.

The other night I took an hour to peruse the Internet on this topic. What I found was a bunch of other people like me, with too much time on their hands. There are about 39,000 pages for “whoopi goldberg eyebrows,” including “Searching for Whoopi Goldberg’s Eyebrows,”  a totally stupid video from Spike t.v.

What I didn’t find, though, was any comment from the star herself, who doesn’t seem to have her own website. There’s lots of speculation and at least two Facebook pages devoted to the topic, but no clear answer.

Some of the speculation is medical, from hypothyroidism to alopecia to trichotillomania  (the compulsive pulling out of one’s hair.)

Some say it’s a trademark look, along with her hair and her glasses.

There’s lots of talk about her either accidentally or intentionally shaving them, which she either likes or keeps shaved because they itch too much when they grow back.

One of the best “answers” I found was this:

“After beating pinkytoe cancer in 1963, Goldberg established Brows(e) for a Cure, an organization that encourages people to donate their eyebrows to make wigs for others battling the disease. She continues to donate to this day.”

I really thought her absence of eyebrows was just a curiosity for me, but this week it has been just short of an obsession. I’ve pored through photos, websites and videos in search of the missing eyebrows. I found a lot of funny stuff like this:

“Goldberg got her first role in the off-Broadway comedy High-Brow, Low-Brow, and Little Miss No-Brow.”

In all that search I did not find a definitive answer but I think I have a partial answer: She didn’t have eyebrows in the Color Purple. When you don’t wear make-up your forget about things like eyebrow pencils.

Even with all my education and training in digital imagery and manipulation, I often forget the simplest things: eyebrows—as with life—are often just an illusion.


One response to “Are those things real?

  1. Melanie rovens

    A great talented artist. Never noticed lack of eyebrows, now I will probably always look for them.

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