Saturday, July 23, 2011

Diversity in Beauty

In recent years, there’s been a change in advertising campaigns in the beauty industry with more ethnic models and brand ambassadors who continues to challenge the narrow ideal of beauty held in western society.

And although we’ve historically had the likes of Halle Berry for Revlon, Aishwarya Rai and Beyonce for L’oreal and famously Naomi Campbell on the catwalks, these beauties still appear to be the exceptions, rather than the norm in the industry. 
The beautiful Aishwarya Rai
MAC and Bobbi Brown were the industry trail-blazers having led the diversity celebration by using ethnic models to promote their collections years before it was in vogue but it seems this year, a whole bunch of other beauty houses are joining this bandwagon. 
MAC's 2010 All Age, All Races, All Sexes collection
With a growing non-western market to capture, we heard earlier in the year Estee Lauder announce their Three Graces, the new brand ambassadors in Puerto Rican-born Joan Smalls, Chinese model Liu Wen and archetypal French beauty Constance Jablonski.
Estee Lauder's Three Graces for 2011
But now it seems that ethnicity and races isn’t enough of a marketing tool and shock value needs to be added in new campaigns. 

This was led by L’oreal announcing that para-athlete Aimee Mullins who lost both legs due to a medical condition at childbirth as the new face of L’Oreal Paris.
Gorgeous Aimee Mullins with her prosthetic legs

Then last month, it was announced that Clarins owned fragrance house Thierry Mugler has south African para-olympian Oscar Pistorius (who also wears prosthetic legs) is fronting the ad campaign for the latest scent: A*Men.
Oscar Pistorius for Thierry Mugler's A*Men

So do you think the latest campaigns are heralding a change in conventional beauty ideals and truly embracing diversity or just shrew business decision to shock and entertain (and be politically correct)? 


  1. It is very refreshing to see faces in the ads that reflect our own society :)

    Did you know that not long ago, Garnier was sued for millions of dollars for hiring only white models?

  2. oh I didn't know that - that is sad to hear given L'oreal Paris does ocassionaly promote ethnic beauties in their models - thanks for sharing Su.

    I think we'll be seeing more ethnic models given the Asian market is just too big for the major brand to not want a slice of their salary as there are lots of well-heeled women out there wanting some beauty products that represents them and meets their needs. I can't wait to see more of it on our market :)

  3. Its good to see such diversity, but there is still scope for girls from subcontinent(India,Srilanka etc) to be featured in ads

  4. @Maddy - totally agree with you there. I think some of the most beautiful features are in Indians - I mean just look at your bridal costumes and makeup!


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