Beauty trends come and go, but when a trend is in the limelight it’s a force to be reckoned with. Five years hardly anyone was contouring, cutting their lids or highlighting the bridge of their noses.
But the lack of diversity of trends doesn’t justify the lack of diversity of beauty models. The lack of plus-size and women of color being part of beauty campaigns reflects the minimal amount of shade range that most brands have.
The makeup market is huge because so many people buy makeup, but only a small amount is represented. Model Liris Crosse (you may remember her from Project Runway) and makeup artist Christopher Michael aren’t waiting for the industry to play diversity catch up anymore.
The two have launched the Model Diversity Project to help shine a light on a collection of diverse models. “In shoots, it’s always the token black model and they have to look one of two ways,” Crosse told Mic. “We wanted to show the beauty where it’s not just one model by themselves but all of us together. This is personal. This is the world that I see. I see light, black, Asian, Latina. I see older models, younger models.”
Crosse and Michael’s first Model Diversity Project was a beauty photoshoot with all plus-size women and mostly WOC. It’s so rare, almost unheard of, to see a beauty campaign with more than one curvy model and no thin models. The models in the photoshoot are Crosse, Naimah Terry, Monique Robinson, Denka Obradovic and Elly Mayday.
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Here’s the starring cast of #TheModelDiversityProject creative directed by @TheRealCMichael and I ! Launching tomorrow on @mic featuring @naimahterry @iadoremo @elly.mayday @denkadenk & ME! #modeldiversity #racialdiversity #sizediversity #plussizemodel #model #editorial #vogue #celebratemysize #effyourbeautystandards #LifeOfAWorkingModel
“I felt that the strongest way to prove our beauty and show our beauty is to do it editorially,” Crosse said. “A lot of times you see plus models in catalogs, and e-commerce. I’m talking about Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar — and not just a shape issue.”
WOC and plus-size models have been tokenized for so long, but the Model Diversity project is breaking boundaries and daring to be inclusive. “The old regime is still in tact and they have been conditioned to think that a fuller face isn’t the standard of beauty,” Crosse said.
There are some beauty campaigns that celebrate diversity like Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath and Glossier. Revlon named Ashley Graham their newest spokesmodel earlier this year, making her the brands first plus-size spokesmodel.
Diversity is happening but at a snail pace. The Model Diversity Project is putting it on the fast track.