Through its 29-year-old Viva Glam philanthropic program, MAC Cosmetics has a new initiative focused on educating and inspiring the next generation of trans makeup artists. This comes amid parent company Estée Lauder’s report of declining sales.
“The beauty of MAC having stores all around the country is it’s a safe place, even in rural areas,” said Drew Elliott, global creative director of MAC Cosmetics. According to Elliott, MAC stores and shop-in-shops have come to attract trans and under-represented youth who want to learn to express their own identity, while also learning about MAC’s cosmetics formulations and business.
On October 21, MAC Cosmetics sponsored the fifth annual National Trans Visibility March in New York City. It has been a sponsor of the event since 2019. The MAC Cosmetics team marched, and MAC artists were on hand to do makeup touchups for attendees at the adjacent Love Rally featuring speakers including activists.
The march sponsorship was part of the brand’s Viva Glam program — the philanthropic campaign gives back to the LGBTQIA+ community year-round through the sale of Viva Glam lipsticks. Viva Glam supports organizations advancing equal rights and healthy futures for LGBTQIA+ people, including the kids-focused organization Mermaids, Micro Rainbow in the U.K., Centro Casa Um in Brazil, and the Hetrick Martin Institute and Los Angeles LGBT Center in the U.S.
Viva Glam also provides educational opportunities for young people interested in makeup artistry. “I was just training a new generation of MAC artists, and there was a good population of trans or gender fluid people in the class,” said Bradley Miller, field and education executive at MAC. “In the community, especially in the younger generations, there’s such a desire for purpose and intention. And they only involve themselves in things that are powerful and make an impact.”
In addition, through the Hetrick Martin Institute, MAC hosted a six-week program for 10 trans students that focused on teaching them foundational makeup skills and opening their eyes to related career opportunities. Participants also received a fully loaded makeup kit and the contact info of the participating MAC artists.
According to Time Magazine, Gen Zers are much more likely than other generations to report identifying as either trans or nonbinary. While only one out of 1,000 Boomers reports they are transgender, 23 out of 1,000 Gen Zers identify as trans.
Moving forward, MAC plans to bring the Viva Glam program to more of Mac’s global markets. “Since we work with so many LGBTQ organizations around the world and have such great relationships with the community, we want to set up similar types of opportunities to introduce those groups to makeup artistry and MAC,” said Elliott.
In addition, MAC is focused on adding more trans spokespeople to its creator programs. Recently, they’ve included influencers Dylan Mulvaney and Jory Almaiman, as well as Dominique Morgan. The latter is a trans activist who also leads an NGO focused on trans rights.
“The more importance and volume we can bring to this cause, the better,” said Miller. “We work with influencers who are authentic and true to themselves, just like MAC, and we’re a place of all ages, all races and all genders. We’re also an artistry brand, so a lot of these beautiful influencers are creative artists themselves.”