MAYBELLINE SIGNS THEIR FIRST EVER ASIAN MODEL AS A GLOBAL AMBASSADOR
Taiwanese model I-Hua Wu has been made a global ambassador for Maybelline. Though Wu isn't the first model of Asian descent to represent the brand (Maybelline has recruited Chinese model Shu Pei), she is the first to be featured in a worldwide campaign.
"Outside of the U.S., there are few Taiwanese models. It's mostly models from other Asian countries," she told The Cut. "But lots of Taiwanese models come here and work hard, but have never been recognised because Taiwan is so small. I'm happy to shine some light on it."
Maybelline's diverse roster of models communicates a message of inclusiveness, as reflected in their products. Over the years, the world's leading cosmetics brand has expanded their shade ranges to incorporate a greater number of skin tones.
Asian models have grown in prominence over the past decade, too, to appeal to the lucrative Asian market. Over the last five years, Liu Wen became the first Asian model to appear in a Victoria's Secret show and was Estée Lauder's first Asian spokesmodel. Maybelline snagged Shu Pei, while Feifei Sun, Sui He, Du Juan, Emma Pei and Ming Xi have all fronted campaigns and opened for top designers.
Their presence is not only a testament to the beauty of their razor-like cheekbones, almond eyes, porcelain skin and glossy raven hair, but to the increasing clout of Chinese luxury consumers, what with the country's multi-billion-dollar skincare and cosmetics industry. Follow the money, as they say.
Growing up, Wu was always self-conscious about her looks. She used to wear circle contact lenses — to make her eyes look bigger — because she thought she'd look ugly without them. Bullied because of her height, she battled with insecurities throughout school. Her mother eventually signed her up to a modelling competition just so she could meet other tall people.
Asked whether modelling has affected her perception of Asian beauty, she says, "A lot of Taiwanese girls are slowly letting go of giving themselves the pressure to conform to a certain type of beauty. You can't give yourself such strict definitions of what is beautiful."