Winnie Harlow Recreated RuPaul's Iconic MAC Ad

It’s been 25 years since drag legend RuPaul starred in Mac Cosmetics’ inaugural campaign for the nascent Viva Glam line. The campaign made him the first drag queen to secure a major beauty contract, according to a new Vogue profile, and the initiative it launched was just about unprecedented: The entirety of proceeds from the sale of the lip color benefits the Mac AIDS fund, which, since its inception, has raised more than $500 million, according to Nylon. It’s seen subsequent campaign stars like Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and even Elton John twice over, but for its 25th anniversary, the latest Viva Glam campaign is returning to its 1994 roots. Except instead of RuPaul, we get model Winnie Harlow.

In the campaign images released Monday, Harlow (who, it’s worth noting, was born in 1994) sports a red corseted bodysuit, hip-high red boots, and a long blonde wig. In one, she spells out “Viva Glam” with her body; in another, three Winnie Harlows appear above the words “Viva Winnie Harlow” and “Celebrating 25 years of giving with Winnie,” in block capitals. The campaign hearkens back to both of RuPaul’s previous Viva Glam campaigns, in which he posed in much the same way: as a trio, below the words “I am the Mac girl,” and eightfold, spelling out “Viva Glam,” in the same red vinyl or patent look as Harlow sports in the new campaign.

Harlow basically manifested this project last fall, when she attended Heidi Klum’s Halloween party costumed as RuPaul. She recreated the Viva Glam images that became part of the official Mac campaign at the time, posting it to Twitter alongside the original RuPaul campaign collage. “V I V A G L A M,” she wrote in her tweet, accompanied by the lipstick-stain emoji and the hashtag #HappyHalloween.

She posted news of the anniversary campaign to her Instagram Monday, thanking the beauty brand “for not only allowing me to be the new face of Mac Viva Glam, but using my creative in the campaign,” she wrote. “I worked hard to pull this look and shoot together with my team, Inspired by one of the greatest charitable campaigns from 1994 (the year i was born) of Rupaul [sic],” she went on, “If you know me you know makeup is a love of mine so I’m speechless! There is no makeup campaign more ICONIC.”

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RuPaul himself has not yet weighed in publicly, but several comments on Harlow’s Instagram and the Mac Cosmetics Twitter have pointed out that, perhaps, he should be tagged.

Winnie Harlow in "Lemonade."

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