Laura Geller, makeup artist and founder of her eponymous cosmetics brand, tells Allure how she and her team came to the decision to change the narrative on what’s aspirational in beauty-brand imagery by featuring mature models.
What made me go into this business — what fascinated me — was seeing the transformation in women where I grew up. I would think, “Wow, that’s so transforming. I have to learn how to do that for myself.” I didn’t know it would be a career, but I was so incredibly interested, and I think that it’s one of the things that set me apart. It doesn’t matter what your socioeconomic situation is, it doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter what your size is — when you can put on a little makeup or take care of your skin, it’s transformative, and it makes you feel good. And if we feel good on the inside, typically we look better on the outside.
I’ve applied makeup to everybody from 19 to 90, and I’ve always felt — and I’m so glad that our company has made this bold statement — that our customer is all over the map. They’re not just mature clients, but the mature clients have spoken loudly, and we heard them. They’ve said things like, “We want to see us. We want to see our faces in your social campaigns.”
It’s an initiative we’ve been working on for the last couple of years, and, I have to say, the feedback we’re getting is phenomenal. To put up only young faces is not aspirational anymore. Women want to know that they can look like a 60-plus woman, or a 50-plus woman, or a 40-plus woman, and they identify with those images. We really have done a real, deep dive on our client, and we have seen that a good portion of our clients are over 40. They’re smart shoppers, and they have disposable income, too. You’d be crazy to leave out that segment as a retail brand.
I’m sensitive to it also. If I’m interested in a product — whether it’s clothing, skin care, or whatever it may be that I am interested in for me personally — and I’m looking at images of young women who could be my daughters, I’m thinking that this product may not be for me or be intended for me, and I’ll probably shy away from it.
To be very fair and very transparent, I think we didn’t address that for a long time. We thought that an older woman would look at a younger woman and see that as aspirational. But she’s very vocal now, like myself, and we now know it’s very important that [inclusivity] is not just about skin tone, it’s not just about size — it’s about diversity in age. It’s important to me, and my whole company is on board with this initiative and has been for the last couple of years.