Yesterday it was revealed that Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper would be the new faces of MAC’s Viva Glam range – the lipwear line which is sold to benefit AIDS charities.
While most cosmetics companies are fighting over the world’s most beautiful supermodels and oh-so-pwetty A-list actresses, Canadian make-up brand MAC (which started with theatre and movie make-up – the name is an acronym for ‘make-up arts cosmetics’), has always done it’s own thing. The brand’s executive director Nancy Mahon says the choice of Viva Glam models reflects MAC’s point of view ‘that difference is something to celebrate'. There’s no denying, Gaga is certainly different.
From KD Lang and uh, Elton John, as well as the current MAC girl Fergie, the MAC models may not be regarded as classically beautiful, but the groundbreaking campaigns have always generated valuable hype for the cause.
In fact, back when the MAC Aids Fund was started in 1994, the casting of six foot black drag queen RuPaul for the first Viva Glam campaign, sent shockwaves around the still somewhat conservative beauty industry. But Mahon says the casting was key to getting MAC’s message across: ‘AIDS is a disease that exploits shame and stigma as well as low self-esteem…Ru embodied in a joyful, glamorous way so many communities affected by AIDS: gay men, African Americans and, yes, drag queens.' Genius.
MAC seeks out celebrities that have ties to the cause (although Mahon notes ‘many of our spokesmodels also approach us to become involved’). So far, the biggest success in terms of sales has been 2005’s Viva diva Pamela Anderson, (who alongside Linda Evangelista and Christina Aguilera probably counts as one of the campaigns’ more conventional models), but Mahon claims Pammy’s success was not down to her sex appeal, but her honesty, ‘She got up and said, "I have hepatitis.... No one should be ashamed of getting an illness.”’
Even for the dementedly theatrical Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper, these are some tough acts to follow…
Meanwhile, the MAC Aids Fund has already given more than $148 million to over 500 charitable organizations in over 67 countries, and is a leader in the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Beautiful.