On Friday morning, Lancôme announced they'd be adding Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o to their all-star roster of campaign models. This is a big deal — prestige brands usually pick only one actress to represent them in their campaigns each year, and Nyong'o is the first black actress to land a Lancôme contract.
After her Oscar win, most people in the beauty industry assumed Nyong'o would get some kind of campaign contract. But the fact that she's been scooped up by a luxury brand like Lancôme is encouraging — diversity is a much bigger problem in the prestige beauty world. Chanel Beauty and Dior Beauty aren't featuring any models or actresses of color in campaigns right now. Estee Lauder has one black model, Joan Smalls. Meanwhile Covergirl, a commercial brand, has had a black actress, musician, or model on the roster every year since 2009 (Last year, Janelle Monae, Queen Latifah, and model Ubah Hassan were three of eight Covergirls). L'Oreal, another commercial brand, announced Zoe Saldana as a campaign model this week.
Nyong'o will join Penelope Cruz and model Ling Ling at Lancôme. On Friday morning, she named model Alex Wek as one of her inspirations:
When she came on the scene, I felt more seen. Having me on a huge campaign like this will hopefully do that for other girls or people who feel unseen or underseen.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.