Viva la M.A.C: A Brief History of the Statement-Making Beauty Campaigns

MAC cosmetic’s Viva Glam line has become a beauty staple in the brands collection. Over the years, the collection has been represented by a range of famous celebrities like Rihanna and Ariana Grande.

To date, Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus have had the two highest-selling Viva Glam campaigns. Last April, transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner joined forces with the cosmetic brand to be the face of their MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative. The shade is called “Finally Free” and, according to Jenner, she wanted to create a shade that was for every day. The rosy nude was selected for its simplicity in hopes of raising more money.

But the lipstick is more than a celebrity campaignit actually helps raise funds for the MAC Cosmetics AIDS Fund. Created in 1994, the line first featured drag queen superstar RuPaul with the slogan “I am the MAC girl!” Over the years, the campaign has seen quite a change in stars and style, but it has remained true to its roots.

At its core, the campaign embodies irreverence, outrageous style, and an irrepressible love of life. The original 1994 formula was a bold red created in response to the pandemic of the HIV and AIDS crisis that was dramatically affecting the fashion community and the world. The founders of the company, Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, came together with the MAC artists to create the MAC AIDS Fund in an effort to make a difference in the world and join the fight against HIV/AIDS. The fund provides financial support to organizations in underserved areas and is committed to addressing the link between poverty and the disease. Since its creation, 100 percent of the proceeds of every Viva Glam product has been donated to the MAC AIDS Fund.  

The most recent Viva Glam collaboration announced is with Empire stars Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett. Henson recently collaborated with the brand in September for several items including blush, highlighter, and mascara. Her newest collaboration now featuring costar Smollett will hit stores in February of 2017.


by Melissa Lee