Aïda Moudachirou Rebois, MAC Cosmetics svp of global marketing, knows the harsh reality of a being woman of color and unable to find makeup suited to her skin tone. It hit her in the early aughts, when she was 25-years-old and shopping for makeup to use on her wedding day.
The Benin-native was shopping at a department store in Paris, “going from counter to counter,” asking for assistance and being told by makeup artists that they couldn’t help her, she said. But then she discovered the counter of MAC Cosmetics, one of the few brands to offer a diverse shade range pre-Fenty. This memory was indelible for Moudachirou Rebois, who joined MAC Cosmetics in February, after 15 years with L’Oréal Group and brief periods with Revlon and Johnson & Johnson.
“MAC’s [diversity of shades] is so normal that we don’t talk about it, and I think we need to talk about it. The more we talk about it, the more the industry is going to continue to pay attention to diversity, in general,” she said.
In her role, Moudachirou Rebois most recently oversaw MAC Cosmetics’ recent partnership with Xbox in October, a Snapchat shopping partnership in May, and the rebrand of the brand’s iconic Studio Face and Body foundation to Studio Radiance in April. Moudachirou Rebois spoke with Glossy about how MAC Cosmetics continues to evolve its positioning in diversity, how it’s approaching digital innovation and why she’s bullish on gaming.
How is MAC continuing to invest in diversity, from a product standpoint?
“Our portfolio is our superpower. We have over 7,000 SKUs and over 400 shades of foundation, which allow us to go deeper in any market.
We also have great makeup artists who help us shape the [product] portfolio. In India, we work with a senior makeup artist to work on shades suitable for Indian women. Another example of that is in Latin America. We heard from our makeup artists that consumers are trying to fix what they call ‘down-pointing’ lashes. We invented a mascara called Up For Everything that lifts the lashes. Up For Everything is a No.1 mascara in Mexico and Chile, and is also very popular with our Latinx consumers in the U.S.
That’s how we continue to make sure we are considering diversity and locally relevant diversity. It’s not just about diversity from a U.S. standpoint, but it’s also about what diversity means in India or Japan and Korea, for example.”
How is MAC Cosmetics keeping pace with how people are shopping post-lockdown?
“We doubled down on our AR virtual try-on tool. In the past 18 months, we’ve added 800-plus shades of lipstick and eyeshadows to our dot-com. And, in the past year, we’ve expanded the tool to 35 international markets. We are also embracing social commerce, as consumers are shopping from Instagram or even Tik Tok. For our recent collaboration with [singer] Rosalia, we dropped that collection on Instagram Shopping the day before [the Oct. 1 launch] to offer our community the ability to shop directly from Instagram. We also embraced shopping lenses on Snapchat in May. You can go on Snapchat and try-on any shade of lipstick or eyeshadow, and shop directly from there.
But brick-and-mortar is not dead. We have two concept stores, one in Shanghai and one in Queens in New York, which are testing grounds for how the future of shopping will look. You can browse the entire store through a mobile portal and try products, share your favorite looks with your friends or on social, build your own makeup palette, and personalize products.”
What is MAC’s interest in gaming?
“Gaming is the fastest-growing entertainment segment, and it’s also the most popular with Gen Z. A Deloitte report shows that 26% of Gen Zers rate gaming as their favorite form of entertainment. Gaming is where they live, and women and men alike are gamers. Most recently, we had a partnership with Xbox, in honor of Halloween. We had makeup artists create looks replicating the most popular characters from Xbox games like ‘Sea of Thieves’ and ‘Psychonauts,’ where there is a significant crossover between female gamers and beauty [consumers]. We offered those looks alongside a step-by-step how-to on reproducing those looks at home for Halloween.
Even my two daughters play Roblox, and they’re playing in communities with their friends. They know who is who and meet for playdates. They have birthday parties [on Roblox], buy looks and [ask me] for [the virtual currency of] Robux to be able to buy fashion looks and makeup looks for the characters. It’s insane, and it’s not going to stop. It’s going to be completely natural to live in this virtual world and have this other universe.”