Cheek to Cheek

Caro­line Solomon pokes fun at the beauty world one 15-sec­ond video clip at a time.

Fashion (Canada) - - Culture Feature - By Is­abel B. Slone

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, Caro­line Solomon was a be­hind-thescenes beauty as­sis­tant at Glam­our. Her tasks var­ied from couri­er­ing in a per­fume from Paris so an ed­i­tor could test a sin­gle spritz to sort­ing through the daily del­uge of prod­ucts sent to the of­fices. That month, she came across a gi­ant plas­tic ra­zor ex­ten­der that re­sem­bled the Canadarm. In­stead of toss­ing it in the give­away pile, she took it home and made a short video of her­self shav­ing her legs in the bath­tub. Af­ter one swipe, the ex­ten­der fum­bled and the ra­zor fell out. With­out giv­ing it much thought, she up­loaded the video to In­sta­gram.

At the time, Solomon’s feed con­sisted of a few fam­ily pho­tos and the oc­ca­sional sun­set. She had fewer than 200 fol­low­ers. Some of her co-work­ers saw the ra­zor video and told her it was hys­ter­i­cal. The magazine’s en­ter­tain­ment di­rec­tor, Ali­son Ward Frank, pulled Solomon aside and said, “This is go­ing to go far, but you need to brand your­self.” This is how @lowcheek­bones was born. Solomon’s boyfriend coined the han­dle be­cause it’s an­ti­thet­i­cal to what is sup­pos­edly beau­ti­ful. “Ev­ery­one wants high cheek­bones, full lips and flut­tery eye­lashes,” ex­plains Solomon. “No one wants low cheek­bones.” To­day, @lowcheek­bones has over 24.5 K fol­low­ers and Solomon has par­layed her ab­sur­dist meta-com­edy—a cross be­tween Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous and Nathan for You—into reg­u­lar In­sta­gram posts and, on oc­ca­sion, branded videos.

On her feed, you’ll find short loop­ing videos of Solomon model-stomp­ing down Greene Street in NYC wear­ing a black jump­suit cov­ered in Beanie Ba­bies, her face painted with streaks of yel­low and pink to re­sem­ble a can of La Croix sparkling wa­ter, and be­ing pulled around in a granny shop­ping cart she de­scribes as a Seg­way that was hand-de­liv­ered by Karl Lager­feld him­self.

Off cam­era, the 28-year-old co­me­dian is more ap­proach­able and down-to-earth than the char­ac­ters she plays in her videos. In some clips, she talks with an in­de­ci­pher­able Ger­man ac­cent, which was in­spired by a “su­per-high-fash­ion” cre­ative di­rec­tor she knows. An­other char­ac­ter is a raspy-voiced Joan Rivers sur­ro­gate hell-bent on col­lect­ing al­imony. “She has ar­rived on Park Av­enue via Long Is­land,” says Solomon with a laugh. “I don’t like putting my­self out there,” she ex­plains. “I’d rather be a char­ac­ter.”

When she started @lowcheek­bones, Solomon doc­u­mented the ridicu­lous swag she took home from the magazine—a flow­er­shaped fa­cial mas­sager, straw­berry hair curlers, a panda-bear sheet mask—but over time her videos de­vel­oped a distinctly campy flair. By April, she was paint­ing her face me­tal­lic sil­ver and dub­bing it “an ev­ery­day strob­ing rou­tine.” Solomon’s whim­si­cal digs work be­cause she’s an in­sider. One thing she isn’t, how­ever, is an in­flu­encer. “I’m a co­me­dian,” she in­sists. “Peo­ple have trou­ble defin­ing me be­cause I’m pok­ing fun at the in­dus­try, but it’s all satire. I don’t know if I want to do [spon­sored posts] be­cause I don’t want [them] to change the in­tegrity of my work.”

It’s noon on a Thurs­day when I meet Solomon out­side her friend Lexi’s apart­ment com­plex in SoHo to watch her shoot ma­te­rial. She ar­rives schlep­ping a gi­ant Ikea bag stuffed with props, in­clud­ing a Turk­ish rug. We walk a few blocks down to El­iz­a­beth Street, and Solomon throws on the rug while her friend films her ad lib­bing about steal­ing the blan­ket off a horse who was eat­ing but­ter­nut squash soup. For the next clip, she smears red lip­stick all over her face to make it look like she just got a chem­i­cal peel. For the last sketch, we head to the lo­cal bodega with Solomon wear­ing a “Thank You” plas­tic bag as a shirt and an­other on her head. In­side, she waltzes up and down the aisles flail­ing her limbs. As we exit, Solomon, still wear­ing the plas­tic bag on her head, pur­chases a pack of Hi-Chew candy and shakes the hand of the man be­hind the counter. It’s the per­fect end­ing.

WHEN IT COMES TO POK­ING FUN AT THE BEAUTY AND FASH­ION WORLDS, NOTH­ING IS OFF LIM­ITS FOR PAR­ODY VLOGGER CARO­LINE SOLOMON (A.K.A. @LOWCHEEK­BONES). HER WHIM­SI­CAL TAKE ON IN­DUS­TRIES NOT KNOWN FOR THEIR SENSE OF HU­MOUR IS CHARM­ING AND WICKEDLY AD­DIC­TIVE.

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