The Brand Next Door
CoverGirl has been one of the shaping factors of American beauty for decades. It started out with only six products when it was founded in 1961, and has since expanded into a vast enterprise by promoting various women as the faces for their products, one of the most famous being Christie Brinkley, who had a 20-year contract with CoverGirl – the longest contract in modeling history.
The Face of Beauty
They were the faces of their generation: Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, and Cindy Crawford. These are the cover girls. They do not follow trends – they set them. They were the pinnacle of beauty to which all women were to aspire toward, backed by the money and marketing of CoverGirl, who took the concept of the pin-up girl and made that look something any woman could achieve.
The idea of cover girls has been around for a long time. The face of a beautiful woman on the cover of a magazine helps it to sell. It also helps sell cosmetic products. This practice began in the 1940s and was the start of modeling becoming big business. Before that, it was very uncommon for a woman to appear on different magazines.
These lovely faces have sold cosmetics for companies like Maybelline and Revlon. CoverGirl named their product for these women, because those cover girls were a big reason why the cosmetic companies did such brisk business. A famously beautiful face gives prestige to the product. If that brand of makeup is at least partially responsible for the beauty of the woman on the cover, perhaps it could impart some of that glamour to the women who buy it.
The cover girls shape the image of what is beautiful in a woman. In the 1960s, it was Twiggy, the willowy English woman. In the 1970s, it was Cheryl Tiegs, the ultimate girl-next-door. The 1990s brought the curvaceous brunette, Cindy Crawford. These women set the standard for their era.
Behind CoverGirl is the idea that any woman can be a cover girl. The women featured on these magazines are certainly beautiful, but unlike a movie star, their beauty is meant to be attainable. This is especially true in recent years. Supermodels and fashion models need to be a certain height and weight – they must be practically without flaw. A CoverGirl model needs to only have that certain indefinable quality. There may be women more beautiful, by today’s standards, but those women may not have that charm that defines a cover girl.
The History of CoverGirl
CoverGirl was created by Noxzema (later known as Noxell). Their method of promoting their cosmetics was through cover girls, the models who would be photographed for the covers of magazines. These models would wear CoverGirl products. The company never sold directly to individuals. Instead, they marketed a wide variety of products so there was something for everyone – every skin tone, every skin type, every eye color.
Jennifer O’Neill was the first famous CoverGirl spokeswoman. Her thirty-year endorsement of CoverGirl cosmetics was a big factor in making the new company a household name. Soon, they acquired another name that would eventually become famous – Cybill Shepherd. She was the essence of the fresh, wholesome girl next door look that would be the hallmark of the CoverGirl model.
Others quickly followed suit, but CoverGirl has always been in the vanguard of marketing to the everyday woman. They marketed a perfume in 1992, called Incognito, a fragrance that carried a fresh floral aroma meant to carry the very essence of the kind of woman everyone knows – that girl who is no supermodel or actress, but she has her own beauty, nonetheless.
CoverGirl took great efforts to show they were interested in bringing out the beauty of every woman, not just the ones who were the current standard of media beauty. They were the first to sign a black model in an exclusive contract in 1992. Once more, other cosmetic companies followed behind and the door was opened for makeup for women of different ethnicities. Today, cosmetics companies have a wide range of models, from all over the world.
Women as diverse as Queen Latifah, Sofia Vergara, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Janelle Monae, Ellen DeGeneres, and Pink have all represented CoverGirl. Recently, they have even contracted athletes like Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson to promote their cosmetics.
Other cosmetics companies may claim to be for every woman, but CoverGirl has truly made the effort to make this a reality.