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Model Winnie Harlow is the new face of MAC Viva Glam. Here's why that matters

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Ava Welsing-Kitcher
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winnie harlow mac viva glam

Since MAC’s celebrated Viva Glam campaign launched 25 years ago, its overwhelming success and iconic visuals have put it down in history as one of the most noteworthy charity initiatives in the beauty industry. The brand celebrates its history and legacy with model Winnie Harlow as the new ambassador. 

Originally created in 1995, Viva Glam has housed collaborations with the likes of Ariana Grande, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin to ramp up awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, 100% of sales (minus VAT) of every limited edition Mac Viva Glam lipstick have gone towards funding HIV/AIDS programs worldwide, racking up $500 million in its 25th year. That translates to 9,713 grants to programs and organisations worldwide, and 540 grants to charities like Positive East and National AIDS Trust here in the UK.

A quarter of a century later, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has drastically improved. AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 50%, over 21.7 million people can get medication, and there are 47% less new HIV infections around the world. Mac especially pays attention to supporting women and girls and LGBTQ+ groups. 

Model Winnie Harlow, who started her career on America’s Next Top Model and has been celebrated for her pride in her vitiligo (a skin condition caused by a lack of melanin in certain areas) and for breaking constricting, perfection-based beauty ideals, has recreated RuPaul’s original campaign image.

“Working in fashion, I’m surrounded by many types of beauty, and I strongly feel that the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community are both prominent & embraced in the fashion world,” Harlow says. “I remember being invited to my first Vogue Ball. It was invigorating to see so many people from different walks of life come together and celebrate themselves freely. 

“Ever since then, I have loved & always wanted to try to recreate a “drag moment”. I knew that if I was ever going to attempt it I would need to embrace an ICONIC look! Who is more iconic than RuPaul in the MAC Viva Glam campaign? I’m so honoured to follow in the footsteps of amazing artists like Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Ru celebrating Viva Glam’s 25th Anniversary alongside raising awareness for the MAC Viva Glam Fund.”

The original red shade of the Viva Glam I lipstick also receives a 2019 makeover, with red glitter and the 25th year printed on the tube. 

MAC Viva Glam 2019 Lipstick Viva Glam I

The new edition of MAC’s Viva Glam I lipstick goes on sale on 1st of May.

Main image: Courtesy of MAC

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Ava Welsing-Kitcher

Ava Welsing-Kitcher is Stylist’s junior beauty writer and resident curly girl. She’s addicted to lip balm (who isn’t?!), wearing eyeshadow as blush and lipstick and all things hair.

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