Queen Latifah Reflects On Getting Rid of the 'Ashy Stuff' For Her CoverGirl Queen Collection

"I thought, why am I CoverGirl if we can’t get our different shades?”

Samantha Callender Jul, 21, 2017

While making her press rounds for Girls Trip, Queen Latifah stopped by Ebro in the Morning to talk about her illustrious music and film career thus far. That conversation included reliving some of her greatest accomplishments, including the long-running CoverGirl Queen collection.

Back in 2006, the beauty giant invited her to become a brand ambassador and almost immediately, Latifah knew it was an opportunity she had to take.  

“The thought of being a CoverGirl was just [amazing]. This was something I had seen ads of my whole life and I thought of how big that would be,” Latifah recalled. “Once I became one, I thought it would be so amazing for everyone to see me as a Covergirl because I didn’t get to see that CoverGirl growing up.”  

Reflecting even more on her experience with the brand, one of the first things she noticed was that a lot of the makeup formulas in stores didn’t flatter brown skin. At the time, Latifah remembered them being “ashy” and giving off a gray undertone on the skin.

“If you look at movies from back in the day- when you see Black women in film- their makeup has this kind of ashy undertone.”

Ultimately, she knew her collaboration with the company would be a lot more hands-on. In fact, Latifah remembers the moment that inspired her to create a collection specifically for women of color.

Shortly after joining the CoverGirl family, she was approached by a woman in the airport who congratulated her on the brand partnership, but still felt underrepresented in the makeup aisle.    

“The woman came up to me and was like, ‘I’m so happy for you and CoverGirl. I love that, but I wish ya’ll made a shade in my complexion.’ When she said that, it didn’t go past me, it stuck with me.” Queen says that’s the moment she was inspired to come up with the Queen Collection. “I [thought], ‘okay, let’s go make a shade in your complexion’. I thought why am I CoverGirl if we can’t get our different shades?”  

Queen says she and her team immediately presented the idea of a collection to CoverGirl, who quickly got on board.   

“…The first thing we did was go to the chemist and got rid of that ashy stuff that makes Black girls look gray. They weren’t the tones that made our skin look the way it should look…We just didn’t have enough shades offered to us. I figured well if I’m a CoverGirl, I need to try to make this happen. We met with them, they were into the idea and we created the line wit the 12 different shades.”  

Eventually, consumers flocked to the stores to not only to buy something created by Queen herself, but a product they could actually use, too. And 10 years laters, the Queen collection remains and one of the most popular lines of makeup for women of color.  We love that Queen Latifah took her opportunity with CoverGirl and paid it forward.

Be sure to catch her alongside Jada Pinkett-Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip this weekend. 

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[SOUND] Queen and Jada, you guys have been friends for a while, long time. What is it like working with someone you've known so long? Do you guys finish each other's sentences? Can you do that, is it that- It's just easy. It's very easy, it's easy. It's just laid back. You know. It's real chill, and we have each other's back. Yep.>> So you already know that, and you know, we just have each other's backs for sure. Period. On anything and everything. And I didn't know Regina, and I Didn't know Tiff, so then. But I knew them. Well i knew off. [LAUGH] You know, I mean like, know. Right. So then to be able to work with them and have such a beautiful camaraderie, Yeah. I got my girl, Yep. And I made Made two new friends. [CROSSTALK] You know. You guys really are like a family, like a sisterhood now. And I really see it. I really don't want no problems. There was one problem on the set. And I'm not going to lie. It was her edges. What happened with her edges? Well, I was struggling with mine. Mine were broken. I had worn a lot of weaves. It was very thin and see-through. We could see her thoughts. Yes, yes, yes. So she knew I was mad. Before I said it, so I was like, there's no point in lying. [LAUGH] And, everyday she broke her edges. And this one's got great hair too. Yes. Mm-hm. So, Tiffany was growing hers in. You were doing well. We was growing our edges back. Black castor oil and stuff. We was like, you know, But, she was really the target of the edge envy. Yes. Because even I have a bit of edge envy with her. How did you feel getting out of that? Sometimes, she did like this to me. Well, you know, I've always had the They fight through to break through since I was a young child and so She get it from her daddy. Her daddy get edges. Actually he does. My dad gave my my edges. you've got to work with that. Get that it away from my edges. Thanks, thank you so much.