Around this time last year, Dior sent a T-shirt down the runway with the phrase “we should all be feminists” on it. Its heart was in the right place, but the decision spurred a lot of talk about brands cashing in on the activism movement without walking the walk themselves. A year later, that’s started to change, with a rising number of brands delivering more diverse campaigns. The latest news comes from CoverGirl: the brand just announced that its newest CoverGirl is fashion model, entrepreneur, and dietitian Maye Musk, who’s 69.
You might not know her name, but you’ve almost definitely seen her face. Musk has been modeling for more than 50 years, while also using her master’s degree to start a nutrition business (while also raising three kids, among them tech mogul Elon Musk). In a press release, CoverGirl’s global senior vice president, Ukonwa Ojo, wrote that “Maye is an affirmation of the power and importance of diversity and inclusivity in the world of beauty. This is exactly what CoverGirl is all about: owning your identity and proudly sharing with the world all the facets that make you, you.”
With the announcement coming just a week after the brand introduced chef Ayesha Curry as its first non-entertainer spokesmodel, the brand seems dedicated to even further upping its representation power. Not entirely new for CoverGirl: it named James Charles as its first male spokesperson last year, alongside Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia. Issa Rae also joined the CoverGirl family earlier this month.
In the beauty industry at large, there’s been a noticeable shift. Glossier’s Body Hero campaign models brought a variety of body types to billboards, while Fenty’s campaign committed to showing women with skin tones across a huge range. The last yet-to-be-touched area was ageism, with most models still falling into that 20 to 30 year old demographic. Now we’re finally starting to see that shift. (For example, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, and Helen Mirren are all faces for L’Oréal Paris, while Isabella Rossellini fronts Lancôme.)
Per the brand’s announcement, Musk wrote that her interest in self-representation is “one thing that’s kept me working in this industry for so long,” striving to see people like herself in the spotlight. Musk is also just a boss: according to her website, to celebrate her 60th birthday she stopped coloring her hair, cut it short, and embraced her silver color. That brought offers from Virgin America to Joe Fresh rolling in, alongside ones for commercials and music videos (Beyoncé’s, to be exact).
Even so, Musk wrote on Instagram that being named a CoverGirl came as a shock. “Who knew, after many years of admiring the gorgeous CoverGirl models, that I would be one at 69 years of age? It just shows, never give up. Thank you CoverGirl, for including me in your tribe of diversity. Beauty truly is for women of all ages.”
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