We spoke to Harriet Ellis, the UoB student behind THAT Farage eye roll
She just hopes she doesn’t get recognised by people she’s got off with at Fab
We all have our heroes, like the guy who gave you an extra chicken wing at Dixies, or maybe a Vine superstar. But the latest national treasure is one of the University of Birmingham's own: third year Classics student Harriet Ellis, whose eye roll directed at Nigel Farage on Channel Four's Brexit debate has gone viral.
Harriet Ellis attended the debate with her friends on Monday night. Her eye roll at former UKIP leader Nigel Farage's comments about a "remainer's Brexit" caused her to go viral. Since then, Harriet has had everything from marriage proposals to J.K. Rowling liking her tweet. And you thought your reading week was mad.
Upon leaving the debate, Harriet was approached by a guy who told her that her eye roll was being turned into memes and gifs, and dominated the hashtag for the debate, #C4Brexit. But what does Harriet really think about Nigel, Brexit, and Old Joe? Has it scored her points with her diss tutor? What does her newfound fame mean for her? And does she embrace her title as the people's voice?
Since going viral, Harriet has had a number of people commenting on her eye roll, with J.K. Rowling liking her tweet, as well as her diss supervisor emailing her about a meeting in reference to the eye roll, hoping "maybe it'll make him reply to my emails faster!"
When asked about Farage himself, it's apparent this isn't the first eye roll he's received from Harriet, with her saying "everything he says makes me want to roll my eyes".
Harriet told The Birmingham Tab she voted to leave, but for completely different reasons to Farage, saying "how the EU is so bureaucratic that no one really knows who is running it, it all seems a little shady", as well as "the freedom to prioritise immigration from non-EU countries, to get skills from all over the world."
So did the rest of the debate deserve an eye roll? Harriet discussed the gender disparity and lack of representation: "I don't think the debate did anyone justice. The panel was poorly selected, why [were] there only two women but four men? Also there were so many view points that were not represented."
Harriet is eager to refocus the discussion back to Brexit, and allow people to consider why her eye roll is so poignant. "I want people to stop caring about me, and think about why they liked the eye roll so much. If my eyes summed up what people are feeling about the world right now, then they need to channel that disenchantment into lobbying for better politics!"
She added: "How many times have new viral memes come out of politics? Theresa May dancing, Ed Miliband eating a sandwich, Boris getting stuck on a zip line! People like to focus on the funny bits because it means that they can forget that politics is essentially a shitshow."
So with Harriet rejecting her title of national hero, who is more deserving of that title? "Malala Yousafzai, legal aid solicitors, and Mary Beard. Also Old Joe obvs."
And Sir David Eastwood? "Not the Vice Chancellor, he can have an eye roll from me."