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.