Beauty

This Photo Series Reimagined Vintage Beauty Ads With 2021 Inclusivity

"The more inclusive images are being circulated, the more normalized it becomes."

A collection of vintage beauty ads got a much-needed makeover. New York-based photographer Julia Comita and makeup artist Brenna Drury collaborated on the Prim 'N Poppin' series, which reimagines once non-inclusive beauty ads with a more diverse cast of models.

Debuting online today, the pair specifically worked on recreating beauty advertorials from the '70s, noting that at the time, the industry predominantly featured white, thin, cisgender models.

Drury told NYLON that representation of this magnitude was nonexistent in the '70s. "Ads of the past — which emphasized the ideas that one size fits all, a person's beauty is in their looks, and that the gold standard is a thin, white cisgender woman — have wrongly shaped the world we live in today," Drury said. "During times when there was no social media or YouTube, these beauty ads in magazines, on television, on billboards, on the radio, etc. set the standard of what it meant to be “beautiful."

As part of the Prim 'N Poppin' unveiling, the pair have created a website of resources, including a page for allies, which highlight inclusive model agencies, ally beauty brands, inclusive beauty advocates, and wellness resources.

Along with spurring conversation and providing others with much-needed resources on the industry, Comita also wants viewers to feel represented by the series. "We know from speaking with our talent that things like bullying can result when others perceive you as being “different” from them, which is reinforced by pop culture and media all around them. The more inclusive images are being circulated, the more normalized it becomes, the less damage results from promoting a white, thin, cis-gendered, heteronormative standard," Comita noted.

The pair acknowledged that not everyone is represented in their current five images, but they have more work planned for the future. "The more advertisements we can (re)create, the more people we have the opportunity to represent," Comita said.

Prim 'N Poppin' is centered on ads of the past, but the collaborators want modern-day retailers to remain mindful of the importance of inclusion. "We are asking big brands to step up and take responsibility for their casting choices, advertising, and marketing, and encourage our fellow creatives to generate conscious content," the artists said.