Ashley Graham has called for better diversity in the makeup industry, after being made brand ambassador for Revlon. The plus-size model is the first curvy female to front a major contract with a beauty brand, which has seen her involved in the launch of their brand new range of foundations. And the star now wants more companies in the beauty industry to hire models which represent women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicity.

Speaking out

Size 14, Ashley is proud to be representing larger ladies and sharing her skin care secrets with her fans, which include using Revlon’s new caffeine-infused concealer. However, she’s shocked that other companies haven’t tackled the diversity issue before.

“It’s mind-boggling to think about how other major beauty companies haven’t really thought about all types of women. It says a lot about the makeup industry and how they really haven’t caught up with the times because it doesn’t matter what nationality you are, what religion you are, what part of the world you’re coming from — we all generally wear makeup.”

This isn’t the first time that Graham has made a point of highlighting the lack of diversity in the beauty industry, either. In January 2018, she wrote an article for Glamour where she pondered why those in charge of beauty campaigns fail to hire curvy models when “there’s no size requirement to fit a lipstick”.

What women want

Graham claims that women want to see women like them modeling makeup products, otherwise they just won’t buy it. Therefore, by not using diverse models in their campaigns, beauty brands could be doing themselves out of sales. After all, just 18% of women wear makeup every day, while a further 28% say they wear it most days.

“If you bring in models who are representative of the everyday woman—which, by the way, the average-sized American woman is a size 14—we are going to want it so much more because it feels accessible,” she says.

Embracing all skin tones

It’s not just models who are misrepresented by beauty brands, though. Consumers from certain ethnicities have less choice and are having to pay out more for their beauty products in order to keep their skin looking great. Research reveals that African-American women spend $7.5 billion every year on beauty products. However, cosmetics cost them 80% more than those made for Caucasian women. Meanwhile, skin care products are twice the price.

Changing views

In her 2018 Glamour article, Graham spoke about she hoped people would recognize that her contract with Revlon was a momentous and groundbreaking one which would encourage other beauty brands to follow their lead. She also stated that she wanted more people like her to speak out about the issue so that in 10 years’ time it’s no longer considered a concerning matter. However, her biggest goal is to be a positive role model.

Growing up, Ashley recalls seeing super-thin models on the front of every beauty campaign and believes that “the more you don’t see women who look like you in images that reinforce what’s “beautiful,” the more that affects your perception.”

A step in the right direction

There’s no denying that there are some brands who are embracing all types of women. However, it’s only in recent years that a significant change has been witnessed, as Ashley Graham’s 2018 hiring with Revlon shows.

When Rihanna’s Fenty beauty line launched in 2017, the popstar used a plus-sized model, as well as models from various ethnicities in her campaign. This came after Graham criticized the singer for not using curvy models in her Fenty x Puma fashion show. But the brand which has really stepped up to the plate is Wet n Wild.

In 2017, they hired Albino model, Diandra Forrest to front a national campaign, in addition to a plus-size weight lifting model, and an Asian American indie artist.

Ashley Graham has spoken openly and frankly about how female diversity in the beauty and makeup industry is lacking on multiple occasions. Her strong views show that she is willing to do whatever it takes to make the industry hear her views, and, already, some well-known brands have stood up and listened.