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It’s 1994 in London, and partygoers donning their finest attire attend a soiree filled with champagne flutes and club music. Large electronic images of the statuesque model posing fiercely illuminate every wall while cookies that say “I am the MAC Girl” are being passed around. RuPaul, MAC Cosmetics' first spokesperson for the Viva Glam campaign, takes center stage as the room hushes.
'And everybody wants to know why they chose RuPaul to be the first MAC Viva Glam spokesperson. Why did they choose that Black man who puts on makeup?' RuPaul asks an attentive crowd. 'I’ll tell you why… because MAC is for everybody.”
While the big parties might be at a standstill for a while, the brand's inclusive messaging is still the same 26 years later. MAC Cosmetics' mission to support marginalized communities continues to prove that the brand is, and has always been, a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
We live in a world of diluted marketing — whether that is brands selling tacky rainbow-printed products or posting a blank black square with the hashtag #blackouttuesday — where brands seldom support their claims of solidarity without offering tangible action. MAC is a brand that historically puts action behind its activism. The 1994 celebration was in honor of the brand's first Viva Glam campaign, a line of vibrant lipsticks and lip glosses from which 100% of proceeds are donated to benefit people with AIDS and HIV all around the world. As of 2019, the Viva Glam campaign raised and donated $500 million to organizations like Planned Parenthood, GLAAD, and Girls Inc., and this year, the brand donated $10 million to communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to Nancy Mahon, global executive director of the MAC Viva Glam Fund.
“MAC has stood with the LGBTQ community from the very beginning,” Mahon tells TZR. “The Viva Glam campaign started at the height of the AIDS epidemic as a community response mechanism to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. We have never been afraid to talk about difficult issues where others may not be willing to go.”
MAC’s interest in fighting for the LGBTQ+ community is embedded in the brand's DNA. The company was founded in 1984 by Frank Toskan, a makeup artist and photographer, along with Frank Angelo, a salon owner. Their idea was a response to the lack of makeup that photographed well. By the time the Viva Glam campaign was conceived, the company had established its inclusive reputation in the industry along with an apt slogan: “All Ages, All Races, All Genders.”
Aside from the large sums donated by the campaign, those that have been chosen to represent the line attest to the brand’s promise of inclusivity. During a time when women with Eurocentric features were the face of every other makeup conglomerate, MAC chose a direction taboo to mainstream media: having RuPaul, a Black, unapologetic drag queen, be the first face of Viva Glam — a decision that still resonates with customers and friends of the brand today.
“When they announced that our it-girl was RuPaul, I felt like I won the lottery,” Gregory Arlt, director of artistry for MAC Cosmetics, tells TZR. “At that time of the Viva Glam launch back in 1994, drag was such a subculture. But we’ve always had drag queens and transgender people work with us. We even had the infamous Lady Bunny bounce our [first] store on Christopher Street in 1990,” he reveals.
Having been with MAC for 26 years, the Old-Hollywood-obsessed celebrity makeup artist has witnessed the brand’s growth from the very beginning. Starting as a traveling artist at the ripe age of 22, Arlt’s career at MAC has projected beyond the imaginable: New York and Paris fashion weeks, magazine covers featuring Angelina Jolie for Vanity Fair and Danai Gurira for Women's Health, and working withhousehold diva names like Dita Von Teese and Cher.
“Back then, we would joke that MAC always hires the ‘unhireable,’” he notes. 'I was literally blown away with all the races, genders, and ages that sat in my chair. And I remember thinking, ‘This is a really revolutionary, maverick company that is taking risks and putting money where their mouth is.’”
In addition to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, MAC announced last year that it will be supporting GLAAD with $500,000 over a two-year period to reinforce targeted programming and public awareness campaigns that challenge LGBTQ+ stigma, fear-based myths, and fear of discrimination — all factors that increase isolation and delay testing and care for the community.
And despite the large donations, the company recognizes that the fight against HIV and AIDS is far from over. While there is still no vaccine for the deadly virus, approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with 38,000 new cases per year, according to HIV.gov. And according to the CDC, among the 38,000, Black gay men made up 37% of cases while white men made up 27%, Latino and Hispanic men made up 28%, and Asian men made up 2%.
In retrospect, MAC's promise to inclusivity and diversity obviously pays off when fostering and promoting talent. Since RuPaul's reign, the Viva Glam campaign has racked up a diverse list of LGBTQ+ spokespeople including Princess Nokia, Aquaria, Parker Kit Hill, Troye Sivan, and Deja Foxx. MAC has also cultivated a long list of diverse LGBTQ+ celebrity makeup artists that began at the company. For Sir John, better known as Beyoncé’s makeup artist, it was the MAC makeup counters in New York City’s SoHo Bloomingdale's that allowed him to refine his craft. And makeup conglomerates Angel Merino and Patrick Ta also attribute their successful, high-profile careers to their cosmetic alma mater. These three not only represent a large sea of LGBTQ+ talent found within the company, but also serve as a beacon of hope for the younger generation of makeup gurus.
As it seems that other companies blanket the authenticity of their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, MAC presents a concrete, long lasting timeline of their efforts and missions. The company doesn’t need to adorn its products in rainbow patterns that seemingly always revert back to its original color once July 1 hits. Its founders birthed a company that recognized a missing piece in cosmetic skin tones. They cultivated a community that offered solace to the, at the time, misfits in society. And they gave back to the community before doing so was such a transaction for social approval.
And while RuPaul announced it to the onlooking chic crowd in 1994, the sentiment still stands strong today: MAC is, and has always been, for everybody.
Film unions classify movie makeup artists based on the area of the actor’s body needing makeup. A makeup artist applies cosmetics from the top of a persons head to the top of their breastbone. A body makeup artist applies makeup to any other area of an actor’s body.
In this article we will be focusing on a makeup artist’s “No Makeup” makeup, specifically applying makeup that does not look like a person is wearing makeup.
Makeup application is a key part of filmmaking. Sure, makeup can make you look more attractive, but it’s really used to correct the distortions caused by the camera lens and lights.
Cameras can accentuate wrinkles, affect skin tone, and magnify skin flaws like scars and acne. Makeup is used to bring out natural features and cover up an blemishes.
The lights and camera will wash out your natural skin tone, so you need makeup to bring your skin back to life and keep you from looking like a ghost. Warm colors are best for video. Cooler colors are overly exaggerated on camera. Be sure to use matte and neutral hues. Also, avoid high-shine that is commonly found in blushes, lip glosses, and eye shadow.
Men at least require powdered makeup, especially if they are bald. Bald heads reflect lights, so powdered makeup is needed all over their head to prevent light from bouncing off of them. The oil produced by pores shines on camera, and a small amount of powder can significantly reduce that.
The key for men is evening out skin tone, covering blemishes, and eliminating any shine or reflection.
Check out this video from Pixiwoo, where they show how to properly groom a male subject before applying makeup. Then you will see the proper steps to making them look great on camera.
One of the most desired looks for women, on and off camera, is the No Makeup makeup look. It’s a very natural look that accentuates features without looking overly colorful or made up. In this tutorial from Sephora, you will learn the step-by-step process of creating the “No Makeup” makeup look.
In this tutorial from Gregory Arlt, the Director of Makeup Artistry for MAC Cosmetics, you can learn a simple and quick technique to help achieve flawless skin.
In this video, Gregory Arlt shows you how to correctly apply lipstick with a brush. Start in the center of the lip and then blend it in. It creates a very simple stained look. Be sure to apply a bit more to the center of the lip, which will lightly soften the edges to blend in with the skin.
When it comes to eyeliner, lay the brush flat, right above the eyelid and bring it straight across. By laying the brush flat, you will achieve a straight line every time.
For eyebrows, first take the brow pencil and brush them into place. Use a pencil that’s a shade lighter than your subject’s brow color to help define the brow, rather than darkening it. Hold the pencil to the side and feather the brow. Then use an angle brush to distribute the color. Finally, use the brow pencil once again to brush the brows.
Image: Sephora store via Cosmopolitan
If you will be applying your own makeup, and have no experience doing so, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
One of the best options available is going straight to a makeup store. You can visit department stores or go to specialty shops like Sephora. You’ll easily find a makeup artist who can help you find the right makeup for your skin, and even show you how to apply it.
Have any experience with applying makeup? Got any tips to share? Do it in the comments below!