First CoverGirl appointed its first male brand ambassador. Now it’s appointing its first Muslim representative.
Just under a month after the beauty company announced that 17-year-old James Charles will be joining the CoverGirl team, it shared that YouTube beauty star Nura Afia will also come aboard, its first ambassador to wear a hijab. The announcement comes on the heels of several beauty brands featuring Muslim women in advertising in recent months, including L’Oreal, which tapped fellow YouTuber Amena Kin to star in an ad for True Match foundation.
Afia’s appointment also comes on the heels of Chanel showcasing luxury hijabs in a storefront on Rodeo Drive last week in an effort to attract Muslim shoppers. Chanel is following the lead of fashion brands like DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and Uniqlo which started selling hijabs and apparel for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan as early as last year.
The shifts signify the continued growth in the Muslim retail market — Muslim shoppers spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013 and are projected to spend $484 billion by 2019. Likewise, the Muslim personal cosmetics market is valued at $54 billion and is anticipated to reach $80 billion by 2020, according to data from Ogilvy Noor. The growing interest in fashion and beauty in the Middle East also helped propagate the launch of Vogue Arabia in October, led by editor-in-chief Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz.
The rise of Muslim YouTube stars like Afia has also helped Muslim beauty enthusiasts find their niche. Afia currently has more than 216,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and more than 316,000 Instagram followers. Her videos include tips on a variety of makeup and hair techniques, including how to create a smoky eye and tie a low bun hijab, as well as vlog posts of moments from her personal life.
“Social media is a great equalizer,”Amani Alkhat, founding editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl, told Digiday in September. “These girls have skyrocketed on these platforms as they’re able eliminate those boundaries and show the diversity we might not see in advertisements. Now, brands are catching up.”
Afia will be featured in commercials for the new So Lashy BlastPro mascara, as well as billboards in New York. She will also make appearances with celebrity ambassadors including Katy Perry and Sofia Vergara.
The 24-year-old young mother hails from Colorado and told The New York Times that she first became interested in beauty at age 19 when she was taking care of her daughter. As she began turning to the internet to find tutorials, she realized there was a void of videos for Muslim women.
“While there was a lot of content focused around fashion and how to dress, there were still very few videos out there for the massive audience of observant Muslim girls who love beauty and are constantly on the hunt for cosmetics,” Afia told The Times.