"I grew up feeling like hijab would hold me back," Afia says
CoverGirl's announcement is the latest to promote diversity
A Muslim, hijab-wearing woman is now one of the easy, breezy and beautiful faces of CoverGirl.
The cosmetics company announced beauty blogger Nura Afia as one of the latest brand ambassadors for its “So Lashy” mascara, meaning she, along with a diverse lineup of other models, will appear in CoverGirl commercials and on a billboard in Times Square.
For Afia, a Muslim woman in hijab representing a mainstream US cosmetics brand, is a milestone for the Muslim community.
“It’s a big accomplishment for all of us,” Afia told CNN. “It means that little girls that grew up like me have something to look up to. I grew up feeling like hijab would hold me back.”
If that was ever the case, it seems like the hijab certainly isn’t holding Afia back now. She has more than 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she posts video tutorials on how to recreate various makeup looks, and more than 300,000 followers on Instagram.
Afia said CoverGirl reached out to her in early October about potentially being in a commercial for the company, but she didn’t realize the extent to which she would be representing the brand.
“It’s huge,” Afia said. “It means we’re being represented in a good light for once.”
CoverGirl’s announcement is the latest to promote diversity and inclusiveness. In October, the company announced James Charles as its first male ambassador. Other faces of the “So Lashy” campaign include two black women, an Asian-American woman and Latina actress Sofia Vergara.
“We’ve always stood for inclusive beauty that supports any and all types,” CoverGirl wrote in a recent Instagram post.
The hijab has been making its way into Western advertisements, albeit slowly. Last year, Swedish retailer H&M ran its first ad showing a Muslim model in hijab. In the US, Afia is still one of few Muslim women in hijab to appear in such ads.
Afia said her role as CoverGirl ambassador is a positive step toward mainstream representation for Muslim girls.
“It shows that we’re average Americans,” Afia said. “We’re just girls that love to play with makeup and do every day stuff.”