Truthfully, Emerald Fennell’s upcoming sophomore feature Saltburn first entered our consciousness when those gym photos of its stars, Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan, hit the web: both cartoonishly ripped, Elordi inexplicably barefoot. From the jump, the discourse around this movie was always going to be freaky.
This film, which follows Fennell’s 2021 debut Promising Young Woman, begins in the year 2006, when timid Oxford student Oliver Quick (Keoghan) joins well-to-do classmate Felix Catton (Elordi) at his family estate for a summertime bacchanal in the English countryside. Per a new trailer, Elordi’s character Felix appears to be a chain-smoking aristocrat with a hunky haircut, dangerous charm, and, most divisively, a vertical eyebrow piercing, which is precisely the type of facial piercing that Hollywood has been using to signal “Watch out, this guy’s trouble” for the last several decades. (Whether or not you read an eyebrow piercing as bad trouble or good trouble is up to you.)
And while Fennell told Vanity Fair that the early-aughts costuming “really knocks the fucking glamor off things” because “there’s nothing like a Livestrong bracelet and a ‘carpe diem’ tattoo and an eyebrow star and a boot-cut jean that deglamorizes things,” I would argue that Elordi’s character’s “eyebrow star” has the near-opposite effect. This is exactly the kind of smeared glamor that the internet loses its mind over. Or, to deploy Fennell’s words here: “The thing is, we’re all disgusting perverts, aren’t we?”
Now, a word of caution to those who see Elordi’s piercing in the Saltburn trailer and think, “Say, should I get one of those?” Professionals say eyebrows are one of the slowest-healing piercing sites. The skin over your eye is thin, taut, and temperamental. Facial jewelry can get stuck on hair, clothing, and all other sorts of things. That said, eyebrow piercings are hot, and even Elordi looks somehow hotter with one. Just, you know, be careful and proceed with caution. Because here’s the thing: Elordi himself has fallen prey to this exact sort of leading-man-body-mod influence. Per his 2022 GQ cover story, the Euphoria star pierced his ears because Daniel Day-Lewis did in the ’90s. Who among us hasn’t had the same impulse, right?