How Times Have Changed With the New Face for CoverGirl

I recently stumbled upon an article on Facebook about CoverGirl announcing its first ever male face for their cosmetics products. With that said, modeling contracts have long been for celebrities and top supermodels, however CoverGirl announced its first non-celebrity cover on the magazine and it’s a boy. His name is James Charles, from Bethlehem, PA, a seventeen year old high school senior who has joined the ranks of Katy Perry, Pink and Christie Brinkley to name a few. James Charles grew to fame on Instagram with over 400K followers for his quirkiness and creative approach using makeup. Additionally, he grew to stardom (15-minutes of fame turned to being the face of one of the top cosmetics brands in the world) when he retook his senior portrait twice to make sure his makeup highlighter will “pop.” In the like manner, he took his story to social media to make that claim and from there all is history.

What is truly fascinating about James’ story is that it puts a perspective on how much 21st century has evolved and where it has taken society today. With that said, James is the first ever CoverGirl/Boy male to be featured as the face of the brand in 58 years. His face will be featured on various digital and social media platforms, as well as print. This is huge and a game changer in the beauty industry due to the fact this historical moment, especially given in a time full of hate, bullying and gender inequalities. Furthermore, the traditional boundaries of gender in beauty and fashion has expanded and major growth to both females and males becoming social media famous.

CoverGirl is an established and reputable brand that acknowledges beauty in every format and is not gender exclusive. Moreover, it gives hope to young people to live their dreams, have self-expression and not have society dictate what is considered the norm. As a matter of fact, the reality is that the power of social media is our digital identity and part of how we are and how people view us. Therefore, by leveraging the use of social media it opens endless opportunities or it may provoke negative responses. Furthermore, the use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is so powerful that it creates a buzz and a voice for people to express themselves. With that said, CoverGirl has broken the boundaries of what beauty and fashion is all about with the use of social media being a powerful tool in itself.



Chan, M.-A. (2016, October 11). CoverGirl just announced its first male face — & he couldn’t be more deserving. Retrieved from Refinery 29 website:


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12 Responses to How Times Have Changed With the New Face for CoverGirl

  1. Leyla says:

    Hi Mona,

    I really enjoyed this post. CoverGirl has taken a huge step in breaking the mold and redefining social norms, especially in regards to makeup. Although there is a possibility of backlash on the brand with this campaign, the positive impact it will make on today’s youth is far more beneficial for CoverGirl. Ultimately, CoverGirl has taken advantage of one of the most talked about issues in popular culture today and with that, has also further established itself as an all inclusive brand.

    Great job!


  2. Lindsay King says:

    Hi Mona,
    I really enjoyed your post. CoverGirl has made history in the cosmetics industry with their latest face of the product line. It also says a lot about the company and social responsibility. I like that a cosmetics line is breaking the mold and letting people know it’s ok to be who they are. So many times we have cosmetic companies and others giving us an image of what they says is acceptable and beautiful.

    While I am sure there will be some negative comments about their decision, it was a bold move and worth the risk. I think this will only make the company more acceptable and help them stand out from other cosmetic companies.

    Great find,
    Lindsay K

  3. Yarasette says:

    Hi Mona,

    I love your post! You brought different points how society has evolved and gender, as we know have changed. It was brave for Cover Girl to have on their main page a boy since the magazine target female-teenagers. Also, it will be interesting to see how the public’s perceived this brave marketing move from Cover Girl and it could help to minorities as transgenders and gay community to be accepted into the society. It might backfire the campaign.

    Thank you,


  4. Scott says:

    Mona – this topic has certainly been a water cooler discussion in my office as of late!
    I believe that this was a huge risk that CoverGirl took by putting a young male model as the first male to be the face of their brand.
    Let’s be honest, for generations males have sported makeup, however now it’s just becoming more popular. Now companies like Albertsons and Vons are now forced to address and sanction men wearing makeup at work. While some might scoff at James Charles for being picked, I know a lot are comparing this controversial move by CoverGirl similar to what MAC cosmetics did in the 90s. MAC choosing a drag queen named Rupaul to be the face of MAC Viva Glam in 1994 was pushing the boundaries of marketing ten-fold for the makeup company. Always known as bold and inventive, MAC adding Rupaul to be the face of their cosmetic line was brave for 1994. Overall great post , I wish I would have picked it!

  5. Diana says:

    I absolutely love that you posted about CoverGirl and James Charles. As you and our cohorts have mentioned, it is revolutionary for CoverGirl to showcase a beautiful individual such as James Charles, where in the beauty industry most advertising is female focused. As I have been reading about the evolution of advertising and female empowerment, advertising communication shifts based on the social dialogue of the day. And the social dialogue of the day is about inclusivity, celebration of diversity–gender, orientation, heritage–and about promoting positive messages of self-esteem and empowerment. Brava to CoverGirl for promoting the wonderful dialogue that is ongoing in our society. CoverGirl is a respected brand and hopefully it can further the conversation.

  6. Stacie says:

    Hi Mona,
    I love your post and applaud Cover Girl for breaking out of the “norm” with a male model for makeup. I agree that its a game changer for the cosmetics industry even though men/boys have been wearing makeup for a long time. I think it was brilliant to use someone already known to the “social media audience” with his quirkiness and followers which has already created a fan base for the product.

    This also tells me the target audience of Covergirl being teenagers and/or young adults. I don’t know if I personally would buy the product based on this historical marketing campaign. But, I do think that it is important to people and those people will react to it in a positive manner. I also agree with Diana that it opens up the conversation. It would be interesting to do some further research to understand how this bold mood has affected the brand, positively or negatively.

    Great post!

  7. Anthony says:

    Hi Mona,

    What an awesome post. James’ story will touch the lives of so many. I admire the bold statement that CoverGirl is making by changing the “face “ of what beauty is and taking a stance on controversial issues like bullying and gender inequality. Sharing it across different marketing channels will be sure to gain brand loyalty. I am going to look for other articles about this. I am curious to see what the responses are.

  8. Beverly says:

    Mona – great write up. CoverGirl has really stepped up their game in the last few years. This latest move shows their passion to support Diversity and Inclusion. This one move will likely boost sales for a new segment and I am sure other brands will try to copy cat.


  9. Carolyn says:

    Hi Mona,
    I’m part of Team Maybelline, and we were talking about the cosmetics company’s target market as being women age 15-35, and that it promotes its products as “for every woman.” For our upcoming survey, we decided to include anyone who responds, regardless of gender. Our only criteria is that they use cosmetics. We’re interested in cosmetics users’ views on product use and buyer behavior, so what does gender matter? It will be interesting to see how other major mass marketed brands respond to the first male cosmetics model for C.G. Hopefully it’s seen as an opportunity for dialogue and brings increased awareness of the changing landscape of what it means to be male, female, and everything in between.

  10. Dawn says:

    Hi Mona,

    Thanks for sharing this story. I hadn’t heard about James’ story but I think it is wonderful. Hats off to Cover Girl for chosing for being bold enough to chose a young male and non-celebrity to represent their brand. It is like a breath of fresh air.

  11. Nathan says:

    Hi Mona,
    My wife has been in the cosmetic industry for over 10 years. My garage looks like a Benefit Cosmetic store and all of our friend’s work in the same industry. A good friend of ours is the Director of education for The Honest Company. He has really transcended in the cosmetic industry as a male, which as you described in your blog is something completely new for the 21st century. At many of the cosmetic events that I have been to there has been a tremendous influx with male influencers. Some of the males have more social media followers than the female influencers. It is amazing to see the traditional roles being shattered and individuals are now able to be more themselves without feeling the need to fit into a certain category. Great post!

  12. Mary says:

    Hello Mona,

    The new addition of James Charles to the CoverGirl family is an excellent topic to discuss. When I was growing up, CoverGirl was a favorite makeup that advertised their products using fashion models. I remember those models being called CoverGirls. Even famous singer Rihanna was a cover girl model for the brand. Although the intended audience for CoverGirls is females, the latest addition of a male as their new face was of the charts. I wondered what their purpose for the new direction of including a man in their advertising is meant to convey. The androgynous looking Charles adds a different take on who wear makeup. Many people believe that women mostly wear makeup and often frown upon men wearing makeup. After it had been announced that CoverGirls was going to adding Charles to their team, there seemed to be more discussion about the company and their choice to add a male to the brand as the face of CoverGirls. I think this addition will boost sales for the company it seemed as if CoverGirls has rebranded.