MAC Cosmetics uses fashion to fight AIDS

By Jamie Lim

Famous faces have graced the annual campaign of MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam. Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin will be the spokespeople for the 2012 spring campaign, which will feature two products: a lipstick and lip conditioner.

Established in 1994 by Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, the Viva Glam campaign encourages people to be bold, beautiful and safe.

Over the past 18 years, the campaign has raised more than $235 million for the MAC AIDS Fund.

MAC’s mission is to serve men, women and children of all different races throughout the world.

They partner with those who are brave and visionary, confronting the epidemic in communities where people are most neglected and at highest risk.

“I think it’s a great program,” MAC Cosmetics manager Janette Flores said. “I think that other businesses and cosmetic lines should get on board and do it as well.”

The goal is to make a difference with one Viva Glam lipstick, or lip conditioner, at a time.

The project promotes facts like that one purchase could buy a pair of school shoes for a child orphaned by AIDS.

The products will provide people affected by the disease with a variety of things, like food and nutrition, prevention, education and treatment adherence.

Laura Fraser, senior project coordinator for Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, worked with MAC Cosmetics while interning for The Global Fund.

She said MAC is a good role model for other companies interested in following the philanthropy.

“I think it’s a wonderful philanthropy that [MAC] provides,” Fraser said, “I think it’s a big role for a consumer initiative to support the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS.”

HIV is a virus that affects humans and weakens the immune system by destroying important cells that fight off disease and infection, although the most important negative aspect about HIV is that it can lead to AIDS.

A person is only diagnosed with the syndrome if his or her immune system is deficient.

It is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.

“I know we can come together to prevent the spread of this disease,” Martin said in a Q&A for MAC Cosmetics.

“Nicki and I want young people everywhere to be bold and learn the facts about HIV/AIDS, to be beautiful by caring for the most impacted and to be safe when making sexual choices.”

Martin’s colorless, lightweight lip conditioner is a first for MAC. In previous years, the company only sold a lipgloss and lipstick for the campaign.

Flores said she thought it was great that the cosmetic company was branching out. Not only would it appeal to their usual consumers, women, but to men as well.

“A ton of people need lip conditioner on their lips, and we use it on a daily basis on all our customers,” Flores said, “It’s unisex so it’s good for either [gender].”

MAC described Minaj’s bright, yellow-pink satin lipstick to be scene-stealing.

“It’s a bright, positive color and I hope everyone around the world buys a VIVA GLAM Lipstick; every cent of the sale price will help people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS,” Minaj said in a Q&A for MAC Cosmetics. “That’s powerful!”

Another plus about the lipstick is that it’s versatile. Flores said the lipstick could be worn many ways, depending on what lip liner or lipgloss the consumer pairs the lipstick up with.

“I love the lipstick,” Houston resident, Lexi Schreiber, “I got a darker, pink lip liner to go with it to make it less peach and more pink. I also put shimmery beige [lipgloss] over it too.”

For those wanting to be part of the movement against HIV/AIDS, Martin and Minaj’s Viva Glam products will be available until February 2013.

The lipstick and lip conditioner can be purchased on MAC’s website or at any MAC counter/store.