Teen Makeup Star James Charles Is the First Male CoverGirl

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Yesterday via social media, CoverGirl announced that its next spokeswoman would be -- a man. James Charles, a 17-year-old high school student and makeup artist, appeared in a post on the brand's Instagram feed announcing his collaboration with the Coty-owned brand.

"Today, I'm living out one of my biggest dreams and I'm currently on set of my first ever TV commercial with CoverGirl. That's right, I am a new CoverGirl," he says in the film.

Like many CoverGirls before him, Mr. Charles was already a star prior to landing the new gig. Within the span of about a year, he had amassed half a million Instagram followers drawn to his stunning makeup transformations. Laura Brinker, VP-influencer marketing at Coty Consumer Beauty, explained that appointing Mr. Charles as a Covergirl was a natural fit for the brand, "consistent with CoverGirl's DNA. We've always been an inclusive brand that's partnered with a roster of talent based not only on looks, but on personality."

The timing also was right for today's climate. "We encourage people: 'You do you.' " said Ms. Brinker. "We're here to help you express whoever that is through your makeup. While this has always been our message, it's more relevant than ever given what's happening socially, culturally. And in beauty, a culture of fearless self-expression, fueled in part by social media, is on the rise."

Mr. Charles will be promoting CoverGirl's new mascara, So Lashy, a universal product that's intended to help makeup wearers transform their lashes into a "bold" look. He'll appear in an integrated campaign that includes national TV debuting in November, print, digital/social and PR. CoverGirl is working with multiple agencies on the effort, including Grey, Marina Communications, MediaVest and Bluegroup Entertainment.

CoverGirl's past spokesmodels represent a broad, diverse mix and have included celebrities such as Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres and Pink, as well as a young girl who had suffered from cancer, the late Talia Castellano. The brand has also worked with male makeup artists before, but not until now has it dubbed one a signature spokesperson.

"The decision-making behind our partnerships is both an art and a science," explained Ms. Brinker. "It's key to mirror the values we espouse -- boundary-breaking, expressive, unapologetically individualistic. CoverGirl is also known as the 'easy breezy' beauty brand, meaning we have on-trend products that help women get looks they love, but in an accessible way. Someone like James Charles can help translate these looks."