Just a few decades ago, the women of South Sudan rarely saw themselves in ads for makeup or fashion, but thankfully that’s starting to change. Right now, from the runways in Paris to billboards in Times Square, South Sudanese women are ruling the fashion and beauty industries. Models like Duckie Thot, a South-Sudanese Australian model and new brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris, and Nyma Tang, an influencer with almost one million subscribers, are using their platforms to bring representation to an industry that has historically excluded them. Not only are these models offering representation, they’re forcing makeup brands to reformulate their products with new pigmented products and richer shades that work for more diverse skin types.
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Think about the constant ads you see as you’re going through social media. Almost all of them have a person modeling the product. Now think about how many of those models are white. Most of them, right? Even with the obvious lack of diverse representation in media we encounter everyday, much of our society is convinced that racial equality has been achieved—why do you think that is?
Although we are seeing more diverse models in the beauty industry, we are still nowhere near the equality we are striving for. Brands that are changing their products to work for women of color and who are using models of diverse backgrounds are important to support. Next time you’re restocking, check out stuff from L’Oréal Paris, NARS, Fenty, Lancome, and MAC Cosmetics.