Home relocating to Spain around Spain The Spanish myth of dark eyes, dark hair: what is the typical Spanish look?
composed by Zach Frohlich

There’s a paradigm abroad of what is the common Spanish look: dark eyes and dark hair. It’s a stereotype, quite opposite come the many physical functions that show up in Spain’s different regions.

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There is an opened scene following in Seville in Mission impossible 2 (2000) that is hilarious for its plenty of inaccuracies about Spain, Seville, and also its local Spanish festivals. Because that example, for some factor the Semana Santa (Holy Week) procession has falleras and also fire, which are legacies of Valencia’s non-religious Fallas bonfire festival no Seville’s very-Catholic divine Week.

The flamenco scene that follows in the movie is probably a bit much better (flamenco is in reality from the Sevilla region), however it reproduces a usual myth about Spain that is, though an ext subtle, much more pervasive and intractable, the all Spaniards have actually dark eyes and dark (thick and straight) hair.


The photo of Spaniards as dark eyes, dark hair and also speaking v a special lisp is rather old. As early as 1846 the English writer Richard Ford to be encouraging others to uncover ‘a much more worthy topic 보다 the old story of risks of bull-fights, bandits, and also black eyes. And it have to be tied come Andalucía’s advantage in photos of Spain abroad.

In Hemingway’s time, the embodiment that this stereotype to be Rudolph Valentino, perhaps the original Latin lover, that though Italian by bear was actors in a entirety assortment that nationalities in Hollywood movies in the 1920s, among them as the bullfighter Juan Gallardo in Blood and Sand (1922).

A tacky tourist industry for an extremely staged, Valentino-style flamenco mirrors sprouted up in Andalucía in the 20s top Hemingway to spurn the region and to prefer the more ‘authentic’ bullfighting experiences of Madrid, Navarra and also the Basque Country.

Even today, i think Spanish actresses that physically fit this Spanish mold are an ext likely to be ‘exported’ come film sectors abroad (take Penelope Cruz or Paz Vega, because that example).

Famous Madrid-born Penélope Cruz, representing a similar dark eye, dark hair Castilian look.

And if I have the right to say much more about it than I will certainly here, Americans substantially exaggerate a lisp in Castilian Spanish. The hard ‘th’ sound (called the ‘ceceo‘) offered to express the ‘c’ and ‘z’ is officially never used to pronounce ‘s’.

Andalucía is the only an ar in Spain where some world do so, no doubt further evidence of the region’s central place in the creativity of Americans; though over there are also areas in Andalucía where Spanish pronunciation more closely resembles Latin American Spanish, and also the ‘c’ and also ‘z’ all come to be an identical ‘s sound.

But return to physics stereotypes, the truth in Spain is quite different.

There are vast local differences and variations in hair form and eye colour. Same skin, blue and also green eyes, irradiate brown, blond and also even red hair is common in countless regions. For example, in Alicante many civilization have distinctively green eyes and also in the northern regions, such as the Basque Country and Asturias, that is typical to uncover Spaniards who would be difficult to identify from our usual stereotypes of north Europeans. This is no to mention the irradiate brown and also wavy hair that is characteristic transparent the Mediterranean regions.

Andalusian actress Paz Vega, who probably ideal represents the standard dark eyes, dark right hair Andalusian look.

And what nature hasn’t diversified, international fashions and migration have.

Were i to re-edit the scene in Mission difficult 2, I would be sure to dye almost everyone’s hair blonde. The popularity of bleaching or dying one’s hair in Spain is such that you might think anyone in the nation was blonde or burgundy.

Moreover, Spain has actually a most immigration, nearly even through US in regards to per capita, and also much of the immigration, from Romania and details countries in south America and Africa, hardly fits the Castilian or Andalusian dark eyes, dark hair stereotype.

See more: And The Myth And Symbol In The Pattern Of Truth, American Studies

So chalk this one as much as yet an additional Romantic misconception about Spain us seem can not to shake.