This week Sephora unveiled its second annual #SephoraSquad much to the delight of diversity advocates everywhere. The group showcases beauty in such vast ways, even across gender and size. But most notable is, of course, the racial mix of the group. And it’s hard not to notice that approximately one-third of the influencers that were chosen are Black.
The haters will say it’s photoshopped.
But what they can’t deny is the fact that in 2020 there are still gaps in diversity and inclusion in ad campaigns, product development labs, and C-Suites for major beauty brands. So for a young Black girl or boy to see themselves reflected in a beauty ambassador for a giant retailer such as Sephora is major.
“What is really exciting about this program is the representation and advocacy that was part of the candidate journey, because it’s truly a reflection of our company values,” Emmy Brown Berlind, Vice President of Content Strategy at Sephora tells ESSENCE. “We are champions of inclusive beauty and creating a culture where everyone can feel welcome—and the #SephoraSquad application process was no different.”
Berlind also emphasized that the squad finalists’ audience sizes wasn’t a consideration—some even have less than 1,000 followers on social media. Each candidate advocated for themselves and brought a certain connection, as well as really showed their passion for beauty.
This is only the second #SephoraSquad, as the initiative just launched in 2019 in partnership with Fohr as a one-of-a-kind influencer program. Soon after its launch, it was expanded to include Sephora employees as well.
“The goal of the program was to celebrate inclusiveness through outreach, sharing and education in partnership with collaborators,” Sephora said in a statement. “The members chosen as part of the #SephoraSquad are not only advocates for beauty, but also for body positivity, self-esteem, kindness and courage.”
Squad members are paid for the partnership and collaborate with the retailer on a variety of projects and opportunities throughout the year. Along with the new members announced on Tuesday, Sephora also has launch partners through the end of the year which includes well-known influencers Monica Veloz, Tennille Jenkins and Tiff Benson.
Check out the gallery and get to know the squad representing our various flavors of beauty for 2020.
Alexis, who goes by Lexi, is a self-taught artist who continues to educate herself on new techniques and product knowledge. She strives to inspire everyone she meets to feel confident and beautiful.
Kiitan is the travel, fashion, and hair influencer behind Kiitana—a lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women. Through sharing her personal journey, she quickly discovered the positive impact she could have on other young women. She also founded Atarah Avenue, a hair accessories company designed to highlight the beauty and versatility of Black hair.
Kim is a multifaceted influencer who embodies being bold in your uniqueness and being unapologetic about it. She currently resides in Canada and holds many titles in the beauty and fashion space. She aims to inspire everyone she comes across to be bigger than their circumstances, and find the beauty in their truth to share with the world.
Crystal is a Nigerian-American content creator and YouTuber. She strives to influence others through creative content and seeks to inspire individuals with her honest, friendly, and unique personality.
Alyssa is a Caribbean-born digital creator who aims to uplift others by celebrating all things natural hair and beauty. She's passionate about connecting with her audience through unique and relatable content on her platforms.
Joie, a.k.a. The Golden Nug, is a 21-year-old, vivacious makeup artist and creative who is always eager to spread her love, light, and joy throughout the world. Nug speaks her mind positively and is big on self-expression and growth.
Terrell is originally from San Francisco and currently resides in sunny Southern California. He’s a licensed esthetician and studied at Cinta Aveda Institute. He’s very passionate about self-care as well empowering individuals to be their best.
"I’m a fearless, super-intuitive (sometimes overly astrological), goal-chasing girl with huge dreams," says Kaice. "I love everything beauty and encouraging others to embrace all the things they find beauty in, including themselves!"
Jessica is a Los Angeles-based digital creator and beauty influencer, wife, and full-time mom. She inspires women around the world to be their true, authentic selves and to express their own definition of beauty.
"I am a positive person who loves engaging with others about beauty, fashion, and food," Cynthia says. "My goal and passion is to be informative about new products and achieve various makeup looks with my audience."
Miracle, who's also known as “Bun” describes herself as your positive friend. "I try my best to sprinkle as much magical-girl energy to those around me as I can," she tells us. "I have such a passion for all things beauty, and I cannot wait to share what I love with you all and be your personal cheerleader!"
Since overcoming cancer, sharing beauty techniques and terms with other women who are also overcoming different diseases has truly fueled Patricia's passion for beauty. "What I want everyone to know most is that beauty is who we are, not just what we are," she says.
Aderonke “Ronke” is a published beauty, lifestyle, and parenting influencer with over four years of experience creating branded content. She was born in Towson, Maryland and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. She worked as a makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics prior to pursuing a career as a full-time content creator.