CoverGirl isn’t the girl you used to know. Now, neither defined by nor restricted by gender, CoverGirl is valiantly proving she can just as well be he.
He is James Charles, the first male CoverGirl in the company’s 58 year history. A 17-year-old high school senior from Bethlehem, NY, Charles enjoys doing makeup for his friends in his spare time or posting tutorials on how to achieve the most current makeup trends to an audience of over 100,000 on his YouTube channel.
In a press release, the company stated, “All our CoverGirls are role models and boundary-breakers, fearlessly expressing themselves, standing up for what they believe and redefining what it means to be beautiful.”
With vibrant and eye-catching looks like dripping rainbow effects and cosmic, glittery lips, Charles animatedly does this by injecting life and humor into beauty. Charles will appear in campaigns for CoverGirl’s line that is designed to work on all lash types, another reason the company believes he’s the perfect person to front the campaign.
Because it’s antiquated and narrow-minded to view beauty and makeup as a realm only girls can enter, it’s awesome and even relieving that CoverGirl, one of the beauty industry’s biggest companies, is actively making strides to create gender equality within the beauty and style industry. To be a company that previously only marketed towards girls, CoverGirl’s unabashed embracing of its following of boys and other genders is unprecedented and exemplifies that representation matters.
However, CoverGirl is still CoverGirl. Thus, with this new cover boy, some are left wondering if possible issues over brand implications will arise?
NYU students generally applaud CoverGirl’s decision, but a couple people feel that CoverGirl could have taken a different marketing approach if they wanted to better blend gender lines as well as stay true to their company identity.
“CoverGirl could’ve made a progressive statement by making a trans girl or anyone who uses she/her pronouns the face of the campaign, a chance that was missed,” said a CAS freshman.
Another student agrees that Charles’ gender distracts from the brand itself.
“Ultimately, my perception of CoverGirl is it’s a company by girls for girls, so to include a cis male kind of dilutes CoverGirl’s message,” said a Gallatin freshman.
As a society, we’ve long moved past the idea of beauty being a world only women inhabit. In fact, historically much of our makeup inspiration have been taken from the spirits of male icons such as Prince, David Bowie and Mick Jagger.
In an interview with the New York Times, Charles expresses the personal significance his new role has and the message he hopes to share.
“I hope [this inspires other kids] to really be themselves and feel comfortable and wear makeup and express themselves in a manner they haven’t been comfortable doing before,” Charles said.
It’s a sentiment that inspires the idea that no matter what gender you are, you can feel easy, breezy and beautiful.
Editor’s Note: Both students interviewed in this article wished to stay anonymous.
Kaylee Warren is a Staff Writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.