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