It’s sheer! It’s queer! It’s shiny and it never smears!
Prim ‘n Poppin’ is a pastel-beauty-art-dream, that serves as both an antithesis and an ode to the slowly evolving beauty industry. Traditionally, the world of beauty advertising has been a place of fantasy and luxe destiny. The escapism came in glossy campaigns starring actresses and models, colors and scents that lured you into an endless possibility of adventure. For a large population, however, engaging in this sector also comes with underlying messages of marginalization and exclusion.
Photographer Julia Comita and makeup artist Brenna Drury set out to create a project that captured the magic of iconic magazine adverts during a special era of beauty while creating a new nostalgia of inclusivity.
“We both are disturbed by the lack of diversity in global commercial advertising,” the artists say. “These commercial images are seen by millions of beauty consumers, many of whom do not reflect traditional standards of beauty found in cosmetics advertising. Despite the recent evolution of the industry, trends in traditional beauty advertising largely promote a cis-gendered standard that glorifies youth and fair-skin. It is this preconceived ideal of beauty that Prim ‘n Poppin’ challenges.”
What would society look like today if inclusivity was standard practice in advertising 30 years ago? This is both posed and answered by the artists. Prim ‘n Poppin’ is a portal into a diverse and non-binary makeup world where the ritual of beauty is all about the magic you put into it. A place where models are characters that allure the viewer into a story about the products and their individual narratives. The images of Prim ‘n Poppin’ reminiscence of stories that could have been told, and the ones we can still tell.
The story is a call to action for the beauty industry to make its audience and users feel safe, loved, and mysterious. Exactly what it should do. Julia and Brenna’s work celebrates the beauty of humans in all forms and demolishes any notion that the only faces to paint on or celebrate are cis, thin, and white.
“We are asking big brands to step up and take responsibility for their casting choices, advertising, and marketing, and encourage their fellow creatives to generate conscious content,” the artists say.
Who says activism can’t be glamorous?
Makeup/Creative Director/ Brenna Drury She/Her @brennadmakeup with Exclusive Artists @exclusiveartists using Tarte Cosmetics @tartecosmetics and Danessa Myricks @danessa_myricks
Talent/ Cory Walker They/Them @corywalkers
Makeup Assistant/ Sean Kosugi He/Him @shokuma_
Hair/ Raina D. Leon She/Her @rainaleonhair
Stylist/ Joiee Thorpe She/Her @joieestyled
Art Department/ Sarah Barton Bernstein She/Her @propstylist
Art Director/ Stephanie Francis She/Her @stephiejae
Lighting/ Daniel Johnson He/Him @thatdanielcamera
Copywriter/ Bre Harrison She/Her @bresayshella
Retouching/ Super Utopia @superutopia