Bankable Beauty

It's the dawn of an inclusive era in South African Beauty

By Marilyn Suto

The South African beauty industry is booming with new bold and diverse campaigns being launched. It's difficult to identify a single determining factor for the dramatic and recent increase in the use of South African faces in beauty campaigns, but we can be thankful that celebrating "first black" does not carry as much fervour as it used to and is definitely a thing of the past. One factor that could be attributed to the increase in the use of South Africans in beauty campaigns is that social media, especially YouTube, has balanced the scales of the South African beauty industry; meaning that corporates have finally learnt that black women can no longer proverbially be "slept on".

Hot off the heels of major announcements by Eau Thermale Avene, Revlon South Africa and Pond’s South Africa that a number of South African personalities ( Thembi Seete for Pond’s; Bonnie Mbuli for Eau Thermale Avene and Loot Love; Kim Jayde, Michelle Mosalakae and Bontle Modiselle for Revlon) would be brand ambassadors for each brand respectively The Way of Us decided to list our favourite South African starlets that have had the honour of donning the brand ambassador badge.

Bonang Matheba for Revlon

Bonang Matheba Revlon

Bonang has been the face of Revlon since 2013, and once shared how she had to go through several interviews with other well know South African It Girls over a six-month period in order to secure her contract. Bonang joined a list of notable Revlon brand ambassador’s including Halle Berry, who has been with the iconic beauty house for over two decades. The Revlon contract solidified B’s status as South Africa’s leading It Girl and her career has soared even higher ever since then, as she continues to land other endorsements from a diverse array of brands including Cell C, Courvoisier and Woolies.

Nonhle Thema for Dark and Lovely

Nonhle Thema Dark & Lovely

Nonhle was not shy to let us know that she made serious money from her deal with Dark and Lovely (remember her infamous Twitter meltdown). Landing this lucrative gig in 2009, fresh off her successful run as long-time host of much-loved TV show O Access, the TV spots for her campaign were screened across Africa. Nonhle even dethroned Kelly Rowland as face of Dark and Lovely. However, this all came crashing down in 2011 when the company parted ways with Nonhle and Bria Murphy was named as official spokesperson.

Terry Pheto for L’oreal

Terry Pheto L'Oreal

Terry is living proof of the well-known and oft cited saying that "success breeds success". Being part of an Oscar winning movie undoubtedly has its perks, and often has the potential to change the trajectory of an actor’s career. Soon after Tsotsi won its Oscar Terry Pheto was announced as the face of L’oreal’s Even Perfect Range. Funny that. 

Minnie Dlamini for Motions

Minnie Dlamini Motions Hair

Minnie was virtually a newbie to the industry when she secured her contract with hair company Motions. Who could forget her glistening smile in that Motions ad as she swirled across our screens in a beautiful canary yellow dress. Motions was a new entry to the South African hair care market at the time, and was trying to secure both a foothold in the industry and gain market share from Dark and Lovely, thus their selection of Minnie as an ambassador was telling and revealed the faith that the company had in her.

Primrose Moloantoa for L’oreal

Primrose Moloantoa L'oreal

Rounding off the list would be Primrose Moloantoa. Many of you might not be familiar with Primrose because she was face of L’oreal way back in 2001. However she must be included in this list because she was one of the first black models to be selected as a spokesmodel in the ‘new’ South Africa, thus breaking the glass ceiling for many black models. We know that celebrating "first black" anything is tired, especially in a country where the majority of the population is black, but sometimes it needs to be mentioned just to provide context. Primrose’s selection as brand ambassador did not immediately open the flood gates for other black models and personalities, but it did set in motion a new trend of selecting not only black models or personalities as brand ambassadors for cosmetic’s companies, but selecting South Africans over international stars to market products to South Africans. 

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