Andreja Pejic has been a regular on the runways of Jean Paul Gaultier, Giles, Thom Browne, and Marc Jacobs among many other labels for years, and made a very personal announcement sharing her experience of undergoing sex reassignment surgery last year to People magazine. "I want to share my story with the world because I think I have a social responsibility," she said. "I hope that by being open about this, it becomes less of an issue." Recently, the model was named the celebrity face of Make Up For Ever cosmetics, and while details of her campaign few and far between as of yet, we'll be eagerly awaiting more news as information becomes available.
Hairstylist Ken Paves, who has worked with Eva Longoria and Victoria Beckham, first released his book You Are Beautiful back in 2013 to provide real women with pro-quality beauty tips that would enhance their routines while offering up some empowering advice. This year, Paves launched his You Are Beautiful hair line with the same inspirational message in mind—to flaunt what you've got, and work with what you naturally have. For the ad campaigns, Paves had each of the models, who are all from different cultural backgrounds, air-dry their strands with the products in to enhance their natural textures, then did a minimal amount of touching up before the images were shot. By rolling his products out to Wal-Mart stores exclusively, the pro hopes to make the line more accessible to a wider range of consumers. "It was never a question in my mind of where I wanted it to be," he says. "Wal-Mart is the heart of America, and the product line is made in America. My family shops at Wal-Mart, so from day one, I wanted it to be there."
Thandie Newton has been a beauty icon of ours for years, but it's her collaborative beauty blog with makeup artist Kay Montano that took her status from muse to trailblazer. The duo founded ThandieKay.com with the goal of celebrating diversity in beauty with user-friendly interviews, product reviews, and in-depth interviews highlighting women of color making a difference in the beauty industry.
In what may be the coolest husband-wife duo since Posh and Becks, Jennifer and Tony Artur run cult favorite brand A Beautiful Life out of their Lambertville, NJ home, crafting products of natural origin with a rock n' roll twist. The potent formulas will have a major effect on your routine, not to mention the well-being of the rest of the world—many of the brand's staples contribute a portion of their proceeds toward charitable causes. For example, the brand's NO fragrance dontates $10 from each purchase toward RAINN to assist victims of sexual abuse, while $3 from every bottle of Composition by ABL sold will benefit The National Center for Transgender Equality.
The Brazilian supermodel and anti-bullying advocate first rose to fame after being discovered by Givenchy artistic director Riccardo Tisci in 2010, and made history in November of last year when she teamed up with Redken and was the first transgender model to land a major beauty campaign, fronting the Chromatic hair color range. "I love working with Redken because they appreciate all kinds of beauty," she said in a release. "They believe in the individuality of the person, and I think that's really important."
After working as PR director for Zac Posen, Jodie Patterson launched her Georgia skin and body care line as well as the e-commerce site Doobop in 2013, to give women of color a chic, luxurious shopping experience. With her team of experts and influencers, Patterson and the Doobop pros hand-select products that are guaranteed to work with every hair texture and skin tone after you answer a series of questions geared toward issues you want addressed. In addition to taking the guesswork out of restocking your supply, Patterson is also editor-in-chief of Doobop's Loudmouth blog, covering everything from beauty tips and tricks to social and revolutionary topics.
Following the launch of her widely-acclaimed book I Am Jazz, where she writes about struggling with her identity and her experiences growing up as a transgender person, 14 year-old Jazz Jennings was named one of the 25 most influential teens by Time magazine, and her influence only continues to grow in the beauty sphere. In March, Jennings was announced as the face of Clean & Clear's "See The Real Me" campaign, in which she encourages fans to share their personal stories on social media promoting natural beauty with the hashtag #SeeTheRealMe. "The real me is happy and proud to be who I am," Jennings says in the inspiring campaign video. We'll be seeing a lot more of the gorgeous up-and-comer in 2015—in addition to her role with Clean & Clear, Jennings will also appear in her own 11-part reality series on TLC, aptly-titled All That Jazz.
Fact: We could all learn a thing or two from Amandla Stenberg. We were first introduced to her as Rue in The Hunger Games and there was no question that she was one to watch on the red carpet. Originally created for history class, her eloquent five-minute video on the intricacies of hairstyles created by the black community, how these styles reached mainstream popularity, and the differences between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange went viral last month, and was a lesson we all needed to hear. "The lines between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange will always be blurred, but here's the thing—appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high-fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves," she explains as she cites examples in pop culture.
When Tristan Walker noticed the lack of luxury grooming and skin care products that address the needs of men of color, he left his Wall Street job and founded his own business Walker & Company in Silicon Valley, later launching the Bevel line of products to solve issues like hyperpigmentation, natural hair transitioning, and vitamin D deficiency among many others. After he studied a few vintage photos for reference, he also redesigned the razor for a single-blade version to help cut down on irritation, and outside of the product realm, Walker makes it his personal mission to increase diversity in the Silicon Valley workspace.
Though she was born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee Mullins didn't let the setback stop her from being the first woman with a disability (and first amputee in history) to compete in the NCAA, not to mention, set the world record in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and long jump categories in the 1996 Paralympics. Mullins made her runway debut in 1999 on Alexander McQueen's catwalk, and became an ambassador for L'Oreal in 2011.