Youth to the People has named 26-year-old singer and songwriter Omar Apollo as its first brand ambassador.
The partnership, announced on Tuesday, marks the first celebrity spokesperson for the 8-year-old brand. Apollo has a 1-year contract with the brand, which will include online and offline activations. In September, he will be a part of the brand’s launch into a not-yet-announced category. Youth to the People was acquired by L’Oréal in December 2021.
“I’ve been into skin care since I was a little kid,” Apollo said, crediting his mom who slathered him head-to-toe in coconut oil from a young age.
“When I first got money, I started spending it all on skin-care products,” he said. One of those products was Youth to the People’s hero Superfood Cleanser. Apollo said he had been using the product for 2-3 years before this partnership materialized.
Apollo got Youth to the People’s attention thanks to a June 2022 edition of GQ’s “Grooming Gods” series, for which he shared his skin-care routine starting with the Superfood Cleanser. At around the same time, the brand was “searching for someone to embody our brand values [and to help build] awareness,” said Gouzelle Ishmatova, Youth to the People’s global brand president.
“Omar is a perfect match for us. First, he loves skin care. Secondly, he uses our product authentically and naturally. And he also represents the current generation — [they are] super vulnerable, very open,” Ishmatova said.
The partnership is part of the brand’s strategy to reach more Gen Zers. Apollo has 831,000 followers on Instagram and 632,000 on TikTok. In 2022, he toured with and opened for Sza. There is also speculation from fans that he and Frank Ocean were, at least at one point, a couple.
“We know that it’s not very common to have male representation for skin care,” Ishmatova said. She is correct, though that is changing quickly. Men embracing skin care is becoming more common, in general, and as a result, so too are male ambassadors in the skin-care market. Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and John Legend are among the male celebrities to recently debut skin-care lines. Meanwhile, Gen-Z-focused brands like Bubble and Starface have worked with male athletes as ambassadors. On a related note, Armani recently tapped four Gen-Z stars to serve as the faces of its new Acqua di Gio Parfum.
Youth to the People is currently focused on building brand awareness and international expansion. It opened its first international outpost, a dedicated store in London, in June. “We want to boost the awareness of the brand, and the best way to do that is always to find someone who can also speak on behalf of the brand,” Ishmatova said.
As part of Apollo’s first Youth to the People campaign, he created a video called “Youth in 10 steps,” which plays out like a “Get Ready With Me” and includes words of wisdom from the singer. Steps include applying Youth to the People’s bestselling Air Whip moisturizer, taking a cold shower and “[calling] my mom to convince her not to do another pyramid scheme.” In Step 10, Apollo again implores viewers to call their mom and dad. Ishmatova said the content itself was a collaborative effort and that the brand allowed Apollo to be himself. For example, there was no plan for him to spontaneously break into song, which he does.
Ironically, when asked what his mom thought of the fact that he’d scored a skin-care campaign, he said he hadn’t told her yet. “She’d definitely be excited for this. She probably wouldn’t like that my shirt is off.”