Lipstick ads tend to follow a certain narrative: Conventionally beautiful model with a conventionally perfect pout swipes on lipstick and smiles wide, revealing a conventionally perfect set of symmetrical white teeth.
But for its first-ever campaign, Gucci Beauty went in a different direction, launching a whopping 58 shades with 26-year-old singer Dani Miller as its face. Miller’s teeth are imperfect: Some are twisted, some tinted yellow, and there are large gaps between her two front teeth and her canines. Nevertheless, the campaign image — which is styled to mimic makeup ads from the ’80s — features a close-up of Miller smiling wide, with a shock of red lipstick surrounding her toothy grin.
For Miller, the lead singer of Brooklyn-based punk band Surfbort, seeing the campaign come to life for the first time was emotional.
"I almost wanted to cry with happiness when I saw the shot they used," Miller tells Refinery29. "It was a coming out, a celebration of me being myself. It’s been a process to evolve and feel comfortable in my own skin. Everyone has things to work through, but seeing that really made me stoked. It’s gonna be awesome for people to feel inspired and not feel alone in their insecurities."
Miller admits that it’s been a journey to accept her teeth as they are, especially after plenty of childhood taunting. "When I was little, people would make fun of me because of my teeth," Miller says. "I’m like, ‘What the hell? This is me. I was born this way, man!’ I had a fake retainer with teeth in it in high school, and sometimes it would even fall out. I was even like, ‘Oh, I need to not smile because people are going to notice and then I can’t even hold this job.’ I just felt like I wasn’t my full self."
One day, the universe took care of that retainer for her.
"One day, and I’m serious, it flew off into the ocean," Miller says. "I was like, ‘Wait, it’s just way easier to be myself.’ It took me a while to let that go and release all the pent-up insecurities about it. Once you go hard in being yourself and loving yourself, the people that fall away and don’t accept you, they can keep walking away. The people who don’t walk away love you for yourself. As soon as I made the turn to celebrating it and seeing beauty in that flaw, I was like, ‘Wow, life rules.’ Now, I love my teeth."
Beyond her smile, Miller says that being a part of this makeup launch — which comes with an ’80s-tastic video campaign as well — signifies an end to the insecurities she had around makeup in the first place.
"Growing up, I felt like I wasn’t feminine enough," Miller says. "But I feel like Alessandro [Michele, Gucci’s creative director] and this whole campaign really just invites anyone, no matter who you are or what you’re into or the levels of masculinity or femininity you are, to just have fun, play around, and make what people consider flaws or ‘nontraditional beauty’ shine and really be a beautiful thing."
Ultimately, she hopes that her presence chips away at the stereotype that the most beautiful smiles all involve "perfect" teeth.
"I feel like with smiles and makeup ads, there needs to be a change in not just having the cookie-cutter, no-flaw look," Miller says. "That’s awesome for some people — it’s a beautiful look — but it’s really dangerous to force everyone to fit a certain style. I think Alessandro and Gucci are taking a huge step in going, ‘This is OK. This is cool. Be inspired by being yourself.’"
Miller has also found power in another detail within the new lipstick range. Each shade name is inspired by iconic Old Hollywood movies and characters played by the likes of Jean Harlow, Maureen O’Hara, and Bette Davis, among others. "Those women are all so beautiful and I think bringing that into current day is special," Miller says. "All these colors and the whole collection, you can use it for self-expression and to make flaws pop and have a party with yourself. Whatever weird quirk you have that doesn’t fit into traditional beauty standards, it’s cool to embrace it. It feels way better — trust me."
In addition to Gucci.com, the Gucci Makeup lipstick collection is available today exclusively at the Saks Fifth Avenue New York Flagship, and will be available May 29 on Saks.com.
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Source: Refinery29 – Rachel Lubitz