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How Rihanna shaded an entire industry
Why it's not just her products breaking boundaries

How Rihanna Shaded An Entire Industry

If Rihanna’s new cosmetic range, Fenty, was a person- she would be surfing rogue waves whilst sipping a cocktail with one hand and reading Joan of Arc with the other.

Sound impossibly idealistic?

Well, Rihanna makes the inconceivable, eventuate into a reality.

The real question is, how?

Fenty by Rihanna offers some of the most diverse shades in cosmetic products. Encompassing 40 foundation shades,  Albinos with milky pale skin have not been forgotten, while those with deep ebony colouring, are similarly given more than just a ‘one shade fits all’ option.

Notably, Fenty’s advertising material features Slick Woods, an American-born model known for being one of the coolest in the game. She has an uniquely edgy style and an icy cold look in her eyes that could extinguish global warming.  Her signature gap teeth, large nostrils, and bald head herald a refreshing departure from the softer beauty that dominates cosmetic campaigns.  

Her feature, however,  isn’t about changing beauty perceptions with a rebellion but rather dismantling the concept of a universal beauty and proving that ‘other’ styles can also captivate. Rihanna’s trying to convey the message: don’t disguise features that aren’t represented in mainstream media, own it, embrace it and proudly sashay across the room, because you are worthy. 

Beyond physical features, Rihanna champions the concept of diversity in culture. Model Halima Aden, was not asked to remove her Burqa, proving that political and religious division, hold no value in Rihanna’s embrace of inclusivity. She isn’t doing this as a statement, however, she is finally offering what should be our normal view of the world. 

Inclusivity aside, products are multi-functional. Instead of following the norm and making separate primers for both eyeshadow and foundation, Fenty has refused to trail behind these beauty conventions. UNSW student, Jasmine Ockenden says, the Fenty Instant Retouch Primer works remarkably well, on both the skin and eye area. She used it as an eyeshadow base and guess how long this intricate eye makeup lasted? 48 hours, legit. “Usually my eyeshadow starts smudging around the 12th hour but this product helped retain the design, for over two days.” 

Just don’t ask her why she was awake for two days straight. 

Rihanna certainly isn’t loyal, to the cosmetic industry’s  standard protocols. With most of the darker foundation shades internationally sold out, she may be the catalyst in heralding a new beauty ‘norm’. Rihanna is proving, that delving beyond ‘traditional’ boundaries can be daunting but it may also manifest in groundbreaking success.




About Kristina Zhou

Kristina Zhou

Kristina is pursuing her PHD in professional shower singing, at the University of New South Wales. She strives to uncover the binary between mainstream media’s agenda setting and the neutral, unframed reality. In her spare time she enjoys rolling lint balls off her pants and french braiding her boyfriend’s beard. Her greatest heartbreak came when CBS cancelled the TV Show: 2 Broke Girls. Why? It was the perfect antidote to alleviating her distress, when pondering the meaning of life at 4AM.

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