In August of 2015, Seventeen year old Yusra Mardini and her sister Sarah fled Syria - a country torn by civil war since 15 March 2011. First traveling to Lebanon and then to Turkey, they then embarked on a voyage to Greece in a grossly overloaded boat (twenty people total - when it should have had only six or seven maximum). After only twenty minutes, their motor failed - and their craft was taking on water. Then Yusra (who was already an accomplished swimmer), Sarah and two other passengers did something remarkably courageous - they got into the water and pushed their boat for three and a half hours to safety, eventually arriving on the island of Lesbos (Greece). Over the next several weeks, the two sisters traveled to Germany and later their parents, who also fled Syria, joined them.
The story doesn't end there though - for Yusra is also competing in as a swimmer in Rio de Janeiro. She is a member of the first ever "Refugee Olympic Athletes Team" (ROT) and will swim the 100 meter butterfly as well as the 100 meter freestyle.
Both of these images of Yusra Mardini demonstrate a nonverbal truism that most people never have contemplated - a smile can be sincere when no teeth are showing - and indeed even with a closed mouth.
Despite the fact that in each example, Yusra's mouth corners are only just a bit up-turned - many individuals will tell you instinctively that her smile is very sincere. And they would be correct.
Each of these photos include these crucial smile characteristics:
1. A relaxed (non-contracted) forehead
2. Partially closed eyelids
3. Concave-up (and temporary) furrows in the lower lids
4. Upward vectored cheek muscles
5. Upturned Mouth Corners
While in each case, her smile is a sincere one (aka Duchenne Smile) - each is also partially suppressed. The example above is slightly more expressed, while in the second smile (below), Ms. Mardini's smile is a bit more suppressed.
Additionally, in the example below, Yusra's mouth is asymmetrical (a bit more expressed on her left side). Sincere yet Suppressed Smiles will very often have a mouth which is indeed asymmetrical - yet the same is also true of many insincere smiles. It's crucial to differentiate theses in a fraction of a second - can you tell the difference?
There's a higher medal than Gold - and Yusra Mardini has already earned it.
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3646: Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Visas, Citizenship and Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3643: What Will Donald Trump Do If He Trails in the Polls By a Large Margin? - Body Language and Predicting Behavior
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3624: Terrorist Attack in Nice, France
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3614: Daniel Radcliffe, Imperium and a Subtle Body Language Tell
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3596: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3578: Megan Fox, Body Language and Dismissive Emotions
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3507: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Amy Adams Do The Batman Voice - The Graham Norton Show
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3481: Gordon Ramsay Tries Girl Scout Cookies for the First Time