By Madina Safdari
This year has been big for representation of groups not normally positively highlighted in the media. For instance, “Jane the Virgin” stars a mostly Latino cast, “Atlanta” is breaking social stigmas surrounding African-Americans, and “Transparent,” which revolves around a trans woman, won an Emmy Award.
Adding to this list of achievements is new face of Covergirl. On October 11, Covergirl announced James Charles, a 17 year old high school senior from New York, as their new representative. Since the announcement Charles has amassed over 700,000 followers on his Instagram and more than 100,000 followers on his YouTube channel.
He gained popularity after one of his Twitter posts went viral. He was shown retaking his senior portraits because he did not like how his highlighter looked. Garnering a lot of buzz across social media, this helped Charles expand his already large following and exposed him as a potential candidate for the new face of Covergirl.
On his YouTube channel, Charles demonstrates his expertise and skill in cosmetics, from makeup tutorials to challenges.
Traditionally, Covergirl spokesmodels have been celebrity women, including Zendaya, Taylor Swift, and Charles’ predecessor Katy Perry. Charles being the first male and non-celebrity face of Covergirl sets to break the customary norms in the makeup industry.
“The fact that I am the first boy is so cool. It shows that this industry is actually becoming genderless, and we’re really making the push toward equal opportunities for everybody, regardless of race, sexuality, gender.” Charles said to the New York Times.
Charles is not the only person breaking gender norms in the beauty industry. Jaden Smith appeared in Louis Vuitton’s women’s wear campaign early this January.
In addition, many men have gone to YouTube to express their skill in makeup including well known artists like Manny Gutierrez, Wayne Goss and Jeffree Star. They each have their own beauty collaborations with companies or manufacture and sell their own successful products.
While the media still has a long way to go in terms of reaching a truly diverse portrait of society, these advances in terms of representation show that in comparison to as little as ten years ago, the entertainment and media industry has become more inclusive. As long as consumers continue to support this diversity, we can hope to see even more diversification in the media.