As we wrap up 2017, it's hard not to reflect on how far the beauty industry has come with Black representation. Case in point, the beauty tsumani that was Fenty Beauty, which broke barriers left and right, became worth over $72 million in a month and was named Time's Best 25 Inventions from 2017! It's the takeover!
Reminiscing on our greatness, we thought about how L'Oréal Paris broke huge barriers in 2016 after they featured Gary Thompson, a.k.a Plastic Boy, in their campaign. He was the first male to be featured in a L'Oréal Paris makeup ad — and yes, he was Black!
Considered a groundbreaking moment in the beauty industry, it was clear this movement inspired many more successful advertisements featuring males.
Interested in knowing what the London-based beauty blogger has been up to since then, BET Style decided to catch up with him to get the deets on how the campaign has changed his life.
Thompson continues to maintain his popularity (and serve a serious facebook) to his 80k+ followers since his viral feature.
"I just got back from LA with a brand called Feel Unique. We went to visit Anastasia Beverly Hills HQ. She did my brows personally, it was amazing. Right now, I’m just trying to build my brand and try get some cool brand collaborations going," Thompson said in an exclusive interview with BET.
Thompson launched his career at 16 years old, when his best friend (also a MUA) taught him a few tricks and tricks. Throughout the years, he's continued to develop his craft resulting in the artistry that you currently see today.
Despite his love for beauty tutorials, Thompson decided that there was not enough male representation for his look. Smart move, considering he has become a beauty guru sensation himself.
"To be the first male star in a L'Oréal Paris makeup ad was just a dream come true," he said. "I remember getting the email and reading it screaming my office down. It was honestly a moving moment for me."
High praises began to flow in, but of course with popularity comes haters. "The responses have been good and bad," he said. "Some people love it and want me to slay, but some people think men shouldn’t be in makeup campaigns at all. They say it’s not masculine, which to me is foolish!"
But you will never find this beauty guru ruining his mascara, as the block button is his favorite option for unwanted drama.
"The block button is my best friend. If any haters try to talk nasty to me, I block them in a second. I try not to let any haters get me down or effect my day," Thompson shared. "I do weekly boxing, so I remember certain comments or remarks and release my clapbacks through boxing."
With those who praise and hate, there are always those who just don't understand.
"I always respect someone's opinion, but never try and disrespect my craft: makeup is for everyone and anyone. Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant."
Of course, we wanted to get his thoughts on how the industry is doing in terms of diversity including representation and products available.
"I think now brands are starting to realize they they have missed a huge demographic by not including men in any makeup campaigns. You now see loads of other brands using men like M.A.C., Charlotte Tilbury and Hudabeauty," he adds. "I feel like we are moving in a really positive direction."
A consistant wearer of Fenty Beauty products we had to know, does he feel they are gender fluid?
"I feel like Fenty is gender fluid. She reposts boys from time to time on the Fenty Beauty Instagram. The products are super amazing and anyone can use them."
As for what's next for the beauty guru? You'll probably continue to get a glimpse of him giving you full face and makeup glam as you scroll through your browser page.
(Photo: ThePlasticBoy via Instagram)
For the past 10 years, Yusef has been dictating all of the beauty trends we emulate via his most famous client, none other than Rihanna. He started out his career as a performer, but he ended up behind the scenes. In Hairstory, he details his rise in the industry from aspiring singer to creative directing the hair for Fenty x Puma.