Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper, the newest spokeswomen for MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, are not known for their wallflower personalities. This is, in part, what made them perfect candidates to spread the message of safe sex to makeup addicts the world over. This year, for the first time, MAC is putting its focus solely on the ladies. “Half of the people who have HIV are women and the numbers are going up,” says Nancy Mahon, senior vice president of MAC Cosmetics and executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund. She wants people to know that, contrary to popular belief, “HIV is a womans’ issue.” We spoke to Gaga and Lauper about safe sex, childhood idols, and, of course, lipstick.
W: Gaga, were you a fan of Cyndi’s growing up? Gaga: I used to dance around my room listening to her music. I always felt like a freak so it was artists like Cyndi and Boy George that made me feel like they found a place in the world, now I have to find it.
W: Tell us about the lipsticks you created, Viva Glam Cyndi and Viva Glam Gaga. Lauper: I love [the MAC lipsticks] Russian Red and Lady Danger, I just love red. I put the gloss on, I change the colors, I make shades all the time. Mine is a coral-red – it’s really easy to wear. Gaga: MAC has a color called Pink Nouveau – that was the color that made me feel like a star when I was almost famous. I said ‘I want a more relatable version of Pink Nouveau. Something that every woman can wear.’
W: How do you make the connection between raising awareness for AIDS among women and buying a tube of lipstick? Gaga: We want these to be a reminder in your purse to be safe. You can’t slip up, you can’t forget [to use a condom]. Let that lipstick be a reminder when your boyfriend or some new guy or girl says, ‘We don’t need condoms anymore, we’re in love.’ You know, fuck you. Put your lipstick on and leave.
W: We hear the two of you met at an awards show. Gaga: It was about two years ago. I was walking down the hall with my shoulder pads and my glasses and my disco stick. Nobody had seen it yet, except the gay community. And Cyndi saw me in the hall and said, ‘You look great kid, take no prisoners.’ She didn’t even know me! Lauper: I like her music and I like that she’s a performance artist because I always tried to do performance art. She’s really pulling it off. Gaga: That’s a class act. I hate celebrities. I don’t get along with anyone. I would never have wanted to do this campaign A, alone, or B, with anyone else. I feel like we can take on the world. Lauper: Let’s do it.
Viva Glam Cyndi and Viva Glam Gaga, $14 each, maccosmetics.com (100% of the proceeds from sales go the MAC AIDS Fund)
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