It is so wonderful to see major cosmetic brands that are making efforts in promoting inclusivity and diversity in their marketing campaigns, as well as engineering cosmetics that include every skin type, colour etc. Benefit Cosmetics Ireland recently hired Kate Grant, a model from Cookstown in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who is also the first model with Down Syndrome (DS) to be named Teen Ultimate Beauty of The World in July 2018, as one of the four “wing woman” hired to be the brand ambassador for their new Roller Liner Liquid Eyeliner campaign. They took it to their Instagram page (@benefit_ire) to make the official announcement on January 9, 2019, captioned, “Our #womancrushwednesday goes to Ireland own @kategrantmodel wearing the NEW #rollerliner matte liquid eyeliner! Kate is a true Benebabe from Tyrone, who recently modelled for our Roller Liner campaign!”.
Benefit Cosmetics is a globally renowned manufacturer of cosmetics, with over 2000 store counters in over 30 countries. Their bestselling cosmetics include everything from eyebrow products to face primers to bronzers and mascaras, and each of these products resonates with their unwavering belief in the phrase “Laughter is the best cosmetic!”. According to DailyEdge, in 2016, Benefit Cosmetics sold the Hoola Bronzer (one of their bestsellers) every 10 seconds, making it one of the world’s most popular bronzing products. Kate Grant, 20, was featured in a documentary called Role Model on BBC1 about her journey as a model. She has walked the Belfast Fashion Week as well as appeared on ITV show This Morning. A representative for Benefit told DailyMail, “We discovered Kate by chance in the summer of 2018 when we saw a Facebook video about her journey to becoming a model”. They loved her for her “infectious smile”, “amazing energy” and “incredible zest for life”. In an interview with HER, Mark Rogers, head of marketing for Benefit Ireland, said he was looking forward to working with Kate. “I am personally super excited to work with Kate,” Rogers said. “She embodies everything we believe in, from overcoming adversity and living and breathing positive vibes.”
Kate wanted to be a model since she turned 13, however, she struggled to find any good gigs because she has Down’s syndrome, which is a disorder caused due to a chromosome defect, specifically chromosome 21. People with DS have a third copy of this chromosome, also called “trisomy 21”, which causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities such as short stature, broad facial profile etc. She emailed many agencies but did not get any work and was crushed. Kate’s mother, Deirdre, uploaded a picture of Kate from her prom, wearing a sparkling blue dress, and asked if it was unreasonable for Kate to aspire to be a model on Facebook. To her surprise, the post went viral and was shared over 26,000 times. Kate received lots of compliments and words of encouragement. She was also asked to participate in the beauty pageant and represent Northern Ireland by the pageant director, Taylor-Rae Hamilton after he saw the post on Facebook. The Ultimate Beauty of The World is an international beauty pageant that has three sections: Junior (3-12), Teen (13-20) and Senior (20+). It celebrates diversity and people who are “beautiful inside and out”. The contestants participate in fundraising for charities and last year’s charity was Make a Wish Foundation. She won the beauty pageant and was on cloud nine, but she knew her work wasn’t done. She told the Mirror, “ I want the next generation who have any special needs to know the true meaning of beauty is who you are, not what you look like. Kindness, compassion and inner sparkle, that’s the ultimate beauty. If the judges saw that in me then I’m happy”.