Lancôme’s Latest Campaign Shows There’s Beauty in the Mess


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Lancôme has officially entered its messy era, recognizing that true beauty transcends perfection and celebrates self-expression. Its latest campaign, Mess With Lancôme, sheds the layers of its typically refined image, rallying its diverse ambassadors to champion one important message: Makeup can be fun and experimental, regardless of age. There’s no singular definition of a Lancôme woman, as evidenced by the brand’s commitment to casting stars who redefine beauty with their unique flair, like Wednesday breakout star Joy Sunday showcasing her best “frosted queen” look, or Italian actress Isabella Rossellini trading in her signature red lipstick for a peachier tone. The campaign gives Sunday and Rossellini free reign to show just how beautiful messy can be.

Ahead, Lancôme ambassadors Joy Sunday and Isabella Rossellini talk about meeting each other, their personal take on the campaign, and their best beauty practices.

The joy in both of your faces in the campaign is palpable. How was it meeting each other for the first time?

Joy Sunday: Well, [Isabella] had introduced me [to the Lancôme family at a launch party], but I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months, so [when we shot this campaign], it was our second time meeting—we didn’t know each other well. She is this very flamboyant character, obviously a legend, but so warm and inviting. On set, we were playing acting games and chasing each other around, and—I can’t speak for her—but I think she enjoyed the fact that I didn’t come in with walls up and wasn’t idolizing her. It was really just two friends. Think of us as Harold and Maude, just an odd couple having fun.

Isabella Rossellini: We really truly enjoy working with each other. Messing around with the makeup was improvised; sometimes, when you improvise, you really have to get along with a person, otherwise, you can become shy or freeze. Instead, Joy and I really hit it off. We felt very comfortable. In fact, Joy said, ‘We have chemistry,’ and I said, ‘Yes, we have what actors call chemistry.’

What does it mean to be an ambassador for such a legacy brand?

Sunday: I feel like I got lucky with Lancôme because they treat me like I’m part of the family and really give me strength behind what I do, and where my passions are. It’s the consistent calling back to all the generations; what speaks to me the most about the brand is that my mother and I could connect so deeply to it. My mother’s beauty is unmatched, and I can only hope to replicate it, but a part of that is what her spirit is and how her spirit shines through. Lancôme recognizes spirit and inner joy and that beauty is as significant on the inside, as it is on the outside. Their ambassadors have heart to them, and I’m honored to be recognized as such. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity, especially because I know it is hard to come by, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Rossellini: I worked with Lancôme for over 40 years, and at the beginning, beauty was very much about being young, blonde, and blue eyes—trying to be as close as possible to that model. Then, in the last 40 years, it has really helped it evolve much more into a self-expression of creativity and individuality of women. Before, beauty was focused on teaching women what to do. But now, that voice has disappeared, and there is more self-expression and creativity.

Lancôme can choose any woman they want. I represent a woman of a certain age, and I’ve been lucky because there are a lot of women my age—it could have been Meryl Streep. It is wonderful to be part of Lancôme.

What does the Mess With Lancôme campaign mean to you?

Sunday: There’s this idea with legacy brands that there’s only one correct way to do beauty. Lancôme was one of the only brands that, at first, were expanding the available foundation shades. And so [this campaign] demonstrates that flexibility was always there, we just had to think of it differently, and encourage ourselves to be more receptive to experimenting and seeing things in a different way.

Rossellini: Lancôme has a solid reputation for being a beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, very reliable brand, but I think they wanted to emphasize humor and playfulness in their new campaign. This campaign was not only to put the generations together—I can be Joy’s grandmother, right?—but it was also a breach into race. Joy is Black, I am white, and the attempt is to define people by their individuality, not by the standards. It is a very positive message.

Joy, Nollywood [Nigerian Hollywood] movies have played a huge role in how Nigerian women present themselves to this world. Who or what beauty practices have defined your personal beauty approach?

There’s never been a shame in accentuating our most prominent features. Growing up, I was made fun of for having big lips. I was made fun of for having dark skin, and now I emphasize it. [Most days,] I don’t put anything on my skin and allow it to glow. I line my lips and make them glossy. As for influences, it’s definitely my mom. She’s always been pretty simple with her beauty. I would say Genevieve Nnaji is also somebody that immediately comes to mind, or somebody like Patience Ozokwor, too. I love the sharp, kind of witchy look and that high drama feeling— like somebody who’s pretty much always spiritually sucking their teeth.

Isabella, a quick perusal of your Instagram shows that you love a red lip. Why do you think lipstick remains such a powerful symbol in the world of beauty and in your life?

I work with the best makeup artists, and they consistently give me this advice: ‘Choose an aspect of your face that you like, and emphasize it.’ I like my lips, and my lipstick is very easy to apply. I find it difficult to do my eyes, and generally, when I do my makeup, I cover up a little bit of this and that. I do a little bit of eyebrow. I do a little bit of eyelids, mascara, but I tend to do the eyes less, just because it’s harder to make them look good. Also, you want to do makeup that becomes like a uniform, something that you do routinely so that you can do it very fast. It became red lips, and it has been red lips since forever.

If you were to build a Lancôme starter pack, what are non-negotiables?

Sunday: Génifique Serum, Juicy Tubes. I would also say the Génifique Night Eye Cream, which I really love. I don’t even know how much it’s doing for me at my age, but it’s almost comforting. I make sure I try my best to drink loads of water before I travel, and then typically, the night before something, I’ll do a mask, so the Génifique Mask. Plus, I would say my favorite mascara is Monsieur Big.

Rossellini: There are two lipsticks that have my name—one is Isabella, which is a very strong red, and the other is called Mademoiselle Isabella, which, when I saw it, looked [red] blue. But actually, you can wear it at a different intensity, and when you just tap it on, it looks beautiful. Lipstick is like wearing an accessory; it’s not trying to hide something that is wrong, it’s trying to emphasize something that is creative.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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