This year, conversations about inclusivity in beauty reached a boiling point as Rihanna made her debut with Fenty Beauty and more established companies attempted to diversify their casting. Among them, Covergirl announced last month that they had tapped Issa Rae as their latest ambassador, and today brings us the first look at her campaign. The Insecure actress' spot in the cosmetic brand's new ad is part of a larger mission to rebrand Covergirl—and part of that means doing away with the once-iconic tagline of the late '90s and aughts: "Easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl." In place, Covergirl is paying homage to literary great Toni Morrison with the hashtag #IAmWhatIMakeUp.
Issa Rae along with Katy Perry, TV chef Ayesha Curry, Maye Musk—the mother of Tesla's and Silicon Valley's Elon Musk and, most recently, the oldest Covergirl in history—motorcycle racer Shelina Moreda, and fitness guru Massy Arias usher in that message in the first look at the brand's new campaign. Opening with the Toni Morrison quote from her 1992 novel Jazz, "What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want it?," the message is that identity is what we shape it into—not what the world or anyone else does.
It's a necessary and refreshing point to make at a time when many still feel unsafe expressing their own identity in a post-Trump administration. In the ad, however, the new lineup of Covergirls find empowerment in expressing theirs, whether it's through makeup as a vehicle or as something they wear just for themselves.
"Traditionally in the category, it had always been women being transformed for very superficial, vain reasons,” Katy Alonzo, director of Covergirl's ad agency Droga5, told Fast Company. “In a lot of ways, it was because the category had been stuck in a male gaze. So we wanted to rewrite a lot of those conventions... What we wanted to do, through the talent we chose to work with, is honor who they are, their stories, and the context that beauty plays within their lives.” Every other beauty brand, take note.
A 7-year-old interviews Katy Perry: