Ziba Ahmadi stood with a string placed between her fingers and a look of pure concentration upon her face.
When the whistle blew at 6 p.m., she moved with quick precision and with one goal in mind: to break the Guinness World Record for most eyebrows threaded in one hour.
“I knew what I was going to do,” Ahmadi said. “I was just so excited, I had no stress, no pressure.”
The record to break was 62 pairs of threaded eyebrows in an hour. She accomplished 92.
Salon Ziba (zibadebeaute) in Thornebrook Village Shopping Center hosted a two-hour free event to recognize Ahmadi for breaking the world record.
On June 16, the 42-year-old owner of Salon Ziba and Gainesville resident beat the 2018 record holder, Pratiksha Bharati, by 30 eyebrow pairs and became the current title holder of the Guinness World Record.
Ahmadi wasted no time when threading, averaging about 40 seconds per individual before moving on to the next. Inside her salon, seven chairs were placed in a circle, which created a fast momentum for her to work. Outside, a long line of about 100 participants of her loyal fanbase wrapped around the building in support of her goal.
Ahmadi is known in Gainesville as one of the most popular eyebrow designers, as some customers even believe that her work brings magic to their looks and lives. At UF, she is widely recognized by sororities, as many of them hire her once a month to design the girls’ eyebrows.
“When I was in Alpha Phi, I heard from other girls to come here because they trusted her with their lives,” Sarah Lozon, a 21-year-old UF Nutritional Sciences senior, said. “I was like ‘okay, I’ll give her a shot’ and every single time since then my eyebrows have been really good.”
The event, which started at 5 p.m., included volunteers from around Gainesville and long-term clients of Ahmadi. Philip Marcel Photography recorded the event and took before and after photos of participants. Ryan Dupree, owner of Studio Skyn, attended the event to witness a change in the record and to confirm eyebrows were at least 2 millimeters thick before starting.
The record required Ahmadi to move fast, show a noticeable difference in participants' eyebrows and only use an eyebrow string to compete.
Near the 40-minute mark, Ahmadi surpassed the previous world record with participant number 63, 45-year-old Gainesville resident Shavonne Carter.
Carter, who has been coming to Ahmadi’s salon for almost six years, was nervous to be the one to officially help Ahmadi break the record.
“She is such a sweet woman,” Carter said. “I've always felt like a regular customer from the first time that I sat in her chair.”
Cheers erupted after Ahmadi completed Carter’s eyebrows, but her mission wasn’t done yet. Focused on her goal to widen the gap between the last winner, Ahmadi kept threading fiercely.
Ahmadi is originally from Iran and moved to Gainesville in 2009. She started threading eyebrows when she was 13-years-old and has continued ever since, buying her salon in Gainesville in 2016.
On the Facebook group Gainesville Word of Mouth, she is recommended for eyebrow care and has over 1000 google reviews averaging a five-star rating.
“Ziba really cares about her clients,” Sid Ferrell, a 24-year-old UF sports management masters student, said. “When you go in, it’s not like you're just a regular person, she wants to get to know you... she’s just a really nice person that genuinely cares about you.”
Ahmadi is known to work magic when working on clients' eyebrows.
“When I touch their eyebrows, I think I give them lots of love,” Ahmadi said. “So, something good happens in their life...they get pregnant or they find a husband or they get engaged.”
When the whistle blew at 7 p.m., signaling the end of the hour, the crowd began to cheer her name as they rushed to give her hugs. Smiling, Ahmadi thought to herself: she had done it, she had broken the record.
Contact Isabella Douglas at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Ad_Scribendum
Isabella Douglas is a second-year journalism major and the criminal justice reporter for The Alligator's Metro desk. She previously worked as a news assistant for The Alligator's University team and as a contributing writer for the New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News. When she isn't reporting, she can be found reorganizing her bookshelf and adding books to her ever-growing TBR.