To say the beauty industry has been slow to embrace diversity is a big-time understatement. We’re seeing small changes in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of recognizing the beauty in all races and cultures. Maybelline appears dedicated to diversifying its model roster, recently signing their first Asian global ambassador I-Hua Wu.
The Taiwanese model joins the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Christy Turlington, Gigi Hadid, and Herieth Paul to remind us that maybe she’s born with it, or maybe it’s Maybelline. It’s a major coup for Wu, who is thrilled to represent her heritage.
“Outside of the U.S., there are few Taiwanese models,” she tells The Cut. “It’s mostly models from other Asian countries. But lots of Taiwanese models come here and work hard, but have never been recognized because Taiwan is so small. I’m happy to shine some light on it.”
Wu isn’t the first Asian face to rep the brand, but she is the first to appear in Maybelline ads on a global scale. And interestingly, the way she fell into modeling had more to do with trying to make friends than actually make a career.
“I never thought about being a model,” says Wu. “Since I was little, I was bullied because I was too tall, or different somehow — I’m not really sure. I didn’t have any friends and was ostracized. In junior high, I cried every single day. But in high school, my mom saw a company was holding a modeling competition, sponsored by an agency. My mom signed me up. It wasn’t to become a model; it was to meet other tall people like me. We went to China to compete, and I came in second.”
Congrats to Wu and three cheers to Maybelline for developing a roster of ambassadors that prove beauty is so much more than one cookie cutter type.