Model Amy Deanna has always looked up to the “influential, beautiful and inspiring” women who posed in CoverGirl’s campaigns. From Queen Latifah to Zendaya, she was inspired by the stars she saw in magazine pages, on billboards and on television commercials, modeling the brand’s makeup. But as much as she admired the brand’s faces, she never saw herself reflected in them.
Now, as the face of the CoverGirl’s latest #IAmWhatIMakeUp campaign, Amy is making her mark as the company’s first spokesmodel with vitiligo, and proving that inclusivity is necessary — and possible — in all aspects of the beauty world. We spoke to the star about why her role in the brand’s new commercial (below) is so important.
“Vitiligo awareness is something that is very important to me. Being given a platform to do so means so much,” she tells PeopleStyle of her gig as the new face of the brand’s TruBlend foundation. “I welcome all appropriate questions about vitiligo. At the end of the day I am just like everyone else, I just happen to have spots. It’s a part of my identity, but it doesn’t define who I am … For there to be so many of us and so little representation, it’s truly disheartening. I work with CoverGirl; I’m a black woman; I have vitiligo. That is empowering.”
Amy can easily list the brand’s spokesmodels who she looked up to along the way. “A few of my favorites would have to be Queen Latifah, Rihanna, Issa Rae, and Zendaya,” she says. “I’m thankful to take part in this. It’s surreal. I believe that inclusiveness will challenge unrealistic beauty standards within the beauty industry and in humanity. I remember seeing Queen Latifah on TV as a CoverGirl when I was young. That was so inspiring. I can’t express how excited I am to say, I too have had the opportunity to work with CoverGirl.”
For women going through similar struggles, Amy says it’s important to find beauty and confidence in your own skin — no matter what is perceived as “normal.”
“Practice being nice to yourself. I often find myself trying for perfection. It’s just not realistic. No one is perfect all the time,” she says. “It’s easy to get caught up in trying to fit in with the latest trends, and thinking less of yourself if you don’t. I think we’ve all done that. There’s something about believing in yourself and being confident: Practice it, look in the mirror, smile big and compliment yourself. You can be whatever you want to be. You’ve just got to believe it.”
Even before landing this major platform to spread her message, Amy was using her social media to help impact the world’s traditional standards of beauty: “Social media is an important tool in changing and developing new beauty standards,” she explains. “It has far reach and a diversity of users. A person on average will spend 30-50 minutes a day socializing opposed to two or three hours a day on social media. We spend more time on our phones than we do face to face. Social media is the best way to get a message across.”
And while she’s making strides as CoverGirl’s first model with vitiligo, she feels that the beauty industry has a long way to go when it comes to making sure all women are reflected, and hopes to spread a message of “togetherness” in all aspects of the beauty space.
“The fashion and beauty industry sometimes feels like a private party that only a select few get invited to,” she says. “It’s very ‘you can’t sit with us.’ To me, that is not progressive. We have to be more inclusive. Diversity is important. Representation is important. Inclusivity is important—not just for people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, but also people of all sizes. That’s why I was so excited to partner with CoverGirl on this project. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. Let’s face it, together we are a mosaic—that in itself is beautiful. We should celebrate that.”