How Rihanna picked me to be the face of Fenty Beauty

Mariah Idrissi, the Grazia Girl Gang Ambassador for Modesty, shares the story behind her Fenty Beauty campaign
Share
Share
How Rihanna picked me to be the face of Fenty Beauty

It’s been little over a year since the launch of Fenty Beauty shook up the make-up market and its 40 foundation shades challenged the established heavy-hitters to up their diversity game in the process.

Gloss Bomb Lip Luminizers and Match Stix Shimmer Skin Stix have become such an instrinsic part of our beauty vernacular, and our cosmetics bags, we struggle to remember a time before Rihanna became a make-up mogul. However, that’s where our story begins, when hijabi model, modesty advocate and Grazia Girl Gang’s member Mariah Idrissi received an email from the superstar’s team telling her Rihanna wanted to book her for the latest Fenty Beauty campaign. “I was thinking, “Is this real?” Mariah recalls. “It came at a time in my life when I had just left my old management, was in-between signing with a new one, and feeling so confused about the path my career was taking me.”

As signs go, Rihanna’s seal of approval is up there with showing Mariah her concerns were unfounded. “As a musician and actress Rihanna smashes it, and as a businesswoman on top of everything else, she just proves to be one of the world’s most powerful trailblazing women,” she observes.

It wasn’t long before Mariah was in a trailer in Palm Springs shooting the Mattemoiselle campaign with three other models, all flying the flag for inclusivity, sending selfies to Rihanna so she could pick which shade she liked on her most. “Her entire campaign just screams representation and diversity so without a hijabi model, it just wouldn’t be complete,” she points out. “It was admirable how hands on she is, this is literally her baby.”

The Fenty Beauty campaign is just the latest in the roster of Mariah’s bookings to date which also include H&M and Zara, and according to Mariah, hijabi models have an important role to play in educating the industry. “I think we still have some way to go. It’s really important that as Muslim women we ensure we are vocal about how we want to be represented in a way that is in accordance with the essence of the hijab. Not all brands or designers are going to be experts in the conditions of hijab and often rely on the model to know, and assist them. As a model who wears a hijab, it’s our responsibility to know to how to represent ourselves on a shoot.”

Mariah believes that the success of Fenty Beauty lies in its meaningful messaging which addresses women of skin tones and sizes, “I genuinely love the whole collection. There’s a ton of makeup brands out there but when you feel catered to it just adds that bit extra.”

Photos: Courtesy of Fenty Beauty