As Naomi Campbell scores first NARS campaign, is the beauty industry finally becoming more inclusive?

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Naomi Campbell has landed her first beauty campaign, but the industry still lacks diversity. [Photo: Getty/Instagram]

Naomi Campbell is the new face of NARS Cosmetics, marking the British model’s first beauty campaign.

The 48-year-old supermodel revealed yesterday that she will front the beauty brand for the first half of 2019.

Sharing an image of a campaign shot by founder François Nars himself with her 6.1 million Instagram followers, Naomi said she was ‘very excited’ to be involved.

Campbell is one of the most high profile supermodels in the world. After all, she’s one of the original 90s supers – an elite group that includes Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer.

Yet, as the only person of colour among this group, Campbell is the only one to have never fronted a beauty campaign.

She has previously spoken out against the racial discrimination she has faced in the beauty world, telling the Evening Standard in 2017: “I’ve never done one for anyone. People say, ‘Oh you’ve got beautiful skin’ and yet I’ve never done one.”

Her debut beauty campaign is, hopefully, a sign the industry is progressing.

Veronica Webb was the first woman of colour to front a beauty campaign, teaming up with Revlon back in 1992.

Jourdan Dunn starred in the Burberry Beauty Campaign back in 2012, while Nigerian-British model Betty Adewolee fronted Tom Ford Beauty back in 2014 and, in the same year, Lupita Nyong’o became the face of Lancôme – and its first black female brand ambassador.

In 2016, Willow Smith become the new face of Chanel. A year later, actress Zoe Kravitz was announced as a YSL beauty ambassador and this year Nicki Minaj teamed up with MAC for her Mac x Minaj collection.

Elsewhere, US brand CoverGirl featured Amy Deanna, a black model with vitiligo, in its campaign.

Representation might be improving, but it’s not the only inclusivity issue with beauty industry. There has been a longstanding lack of products available for darker skin tones, particularly when it comes to foundation and concealer.

Veronica Webb pictured in 1994, two years after she became the first black woman to front a major beauty campaign. [Photo: Getty]

Iman’s previously revealed she was forced to custom mix her own foundation shades while modelling in the 70s and 80s, and as a result launched her own range Iman Beauty.

Today, things are changing as global companies acknowledge the need to diversify their shade offerings.

When Rihanna – who had become the first black woman to front a Dior beauty campaign back in 2015 – launched her 40-shade-strong Fenty Beauty foundation line last year, it was seen as a step forward for racial diversity, prompting brands such as Dior, Revlon Maybelline to follow suit with 40-shade collections.

It’s not just racial inclusivity the beauty industry lacks, but size diversity, model Ashley Graham recently claimed.

In a recent interview with Allure magazine, Graham – who is Revlon’s first plus-size brand ambassador – complained about industry’s failure to portray “all types of women”.

She said: “It’s mind-boggling to think about how other major beauty companies haven’t really thought about all types of women.”

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for non-stop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyleUK.

Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

Ballet shoes to match darker skin tones have finally arrived in the UK

Model calls for Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show boycott

Rihanna’s NYFW show celebrates diversity with pregnant and plus-size models