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The Wide-Eyed Not-So-Innocent

By Amalah

I have large green eyes (as large as Bette Davis’s eyes). People often tell me they’re pretty and they make me look youthful and innocent. Unfortunately, in a professional setting, they also make me look dumbfounded and not too bright. I’ve had several job interviews already where the interviewer thinks that I don’t understand what they’re saying, regardless of how much I talk to them and make insightful comments, and I know that it is because my first impression doesn’t work in my favor: my eyes make me “look” dumb. It is a problem similar to what many blonds, who are often assumed to be dumb, go through.
This has become a big problem for me: looking dumb at a job interview is simply not an option: I am sure there are ways to make my eyes look smaller and more intelligent with makeup: I generally use some dark eyeshadow and it helps a little bit but doesn’t really do the trick. Any tips for this small problem?– It seems very trivial, but I think a little help in this area could really change my world.

This is a problem a lot of women would probably kill to have (especially ones with not-so-big eyes that tend to go all scrunchy and non-existent in front of the camera, like mine), but still. I feel you. (Uh, dawg.) It must be terrible to feel judged like that on a job interview, and while part of me wants to yell that to HELL with them, you OWN your gorgeous eyes, I know that’s not the most realistic solution.
Job interviews are about that first impression. I remember hiring editorial assistants — who tended to be fresh-faced grads who were high on ambition but short on experience — and I would glance at their short resume and then right back at them. Were they professionally dressed or sloppy? Did they ask questions and make eye contact and…what the hell? Is she wearing glitter to a job interview?
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t find ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, on how to make eyes look smaller with make-up. Bigger, yes. Closer together, father apart, yes.
So it sounds like you might be doing all you can, with a darker shadow on your lids. I’d stick with a neutral shadow though — no dark greens or purples. A deep gray or brown, maybe, with another shadow that’s just a hair darker than your skin tone applied up to your brows. Kind of what most women wear to work anyway, but just…darker.
The only other thing I could think of was possibly buying some glasses. Just the frames, with clear glass instead of a prescription. Maybe dark-rimmed ones, in whatever shape flatters your face. Just like blond hair, big eyes and big boobs are stereotypical “dumb bimbo” features, glasses are generally equated with being smart and brainy.
Try wearing the glasses to interviews. And when you meet your new coworkers, or to a meeting or two. Once you’ve showed your chops and proven that you are, in fact, not dumb in the slightest, stop wearing them.
And then you can own your gorgeous eyes with whatever fabulous makeup you want.
(Except for glitter. Because, you know.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Great advice! I wear glasses for reading and computer work, but will throw them on when I’m meeting with new clients or going to buy a car or some such item because well, I kinda looka like a brunette Tinker Bell (people do not take me seriously at first). Works like a charm!


I have big eyes, too. They make me look like a wide-eyed innocent, even when I’m pissed off. My advice? Develop a good ‘listening face’, and squint a little. I tilt my head down a little and just a touch to the side, squint just a bit, and nod frequently with a few “mm-hmm”s thrown in. Also, lean forward to show that you’re engaged in the conversation. At some point, you’ll be able to use your innocent looks to your advantage. If you’re in a competitive field, people will underestimate you. If you’re in a field where customer relations are… Read more »


I’d second Heyladee’s suggestion. When, maaany years ago, I was teaching undergraduates just a couple of years younger than me, and wanted to give a spurious air of age and authority, I’d put my then ridiculously long blonde hair up into a serious french pleat/chignon, replace my contacts with glasses and wear very respectable clothes. Dunno if it fooled the kids, but it made me feel more adult… It didn’t take too long to establish authority, so I gradually reverted to a more relaxed image. Good luck, L!

Spring Weaver

YES. The glasses suggestion is an excellent one. I tend to come off as not too brainy, either (Blonde hair, I blame the blonde hair. And the high squeaky voice that I can’t change.). I interviewed for a copyediting position just last week at an ad agency and wore my glasses the entire time. And I got the job the very next day. I’m not sure how related the two incidents are, but I’m saying it can’t hurt.