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Beauty x Bollywood: How Indian stars are supporting and promoting beauty brands

The symbiotic relationship between actors and Indian beauty brands has been around for ages. From the era of Lux, a beauty soap advertised with Indian actors — Madhubala, Praveen Babi, Zeenat Aman to Juhi Chawla, Aishwarya Rai Bachhan, and Kareena Kapoor Khan — has been instrumental in building a narrative around Bollywood actors as ambassadors for Indian beauty brands no matter how humble or glamorous.

While this marketing strategy has worked for decades, there’s been a tectonic shift in the way beauty brands are collaborating with Bollywood celebs now. Gone are the days when being the face or ambassador for a brand was the way ahead, today the term in focus is ”collaboration”. They aren’t simply posing for a pretty picture or shooting an ad but also investing in Indian beauty brands. This new era of support and collaboration can be seen in line with this recent beauty x Bollywood collaborations.

Image: Courtesy Shraddha Kapoor Instagram

Recently, one of the first brands to go this route was MyGlamm, which got Shraddha Kapoor on board, not just as the brand ambassador but also as an investor in the company. “When we wanted to onboard a brand ambassador, the main thing we looked out for was a strong authentic fit between our values and the values of the celebrity. And we found this fit with Shraddha. We have always admired Shraddha for her clean beauty and cruelty-free philosophy and how she connects and resonates with her over 60 million Instagram followers. When Shraddha invested in MyGlamm along with being a brand ambassador, it showed her true belief and love for our products and brand, and that eventually resonates authenticity for her followers,” shares Darpan Sanghvi, Founder & CEO, MyGlamm.

Image: Courtesy Jacqueline Fernandez Instagram

These new-age synergies that exist between beauty brands and Bollywood stars can be observed in all collaborations. Jacqueline Fernandez might have been the face of the Colorbar for the last three years, but her recent collection for the brand truly reflects her involvement in creating the product and not simply wearing it.

A recent Zoom interaction with the Sri Lankan beauty and her makeup artist Shaan Muttathil spoke in depth of the products, their usage and how fun it was creating them was reflective of this ideology. “Countless women follow Jacqueline’s example, to be boldly fierce and sophisticated. At Colorbar, makeup is an expression of joy and a medium to celebrate the boldness and passion of life. Jacqueline stands for all of those values and more. We are thrilled to have her on board as our ambassador since 2019 and even more thrilled with the launch of the latest Jacqueline Fernandez x Colorbar collection. This collection is an inspiration for every human to be who they want to be and who better than Jacqueline to lead that example?, shares the brand’s founder and Managing Director, Samir Modi.

Image: Courtesy Bhumi Pednekar Instagram
Image: Courtesy Bhumi Pednekar Instagram

An actress that’s had not one but two such glamourous associations in the recent past is Bhumi Pednekar. From getting on board as a beauty collaborator for Boddess.com to becoming the face of M.A.C Cosmetics in India, she is going places. Relatability with the growing GenZ audience (primarily via social media channels) is an important criterion for these collaborations. “From her inspiring journey of being an industry outsider, her pathbreaking choices of movie roles and her ideals of challenging conventional beauty standards, Bhumi Pednekar was a natural fit for us. At M.A.C, individuality and self-expression are celebrated above all else and Bhumi really embodies this. She adores makeup and for us that was a very important criterion. Most importantly, she speaks directly to our young millennial and Gen Z audience who look at her as an inspiration”, suggests Karen Thompson, brand manager, M.A.C Cosmetics India.

Image: Courtesy Taapsee Pannu Instagram

It’s no longer a cookie-cutter approach to beauty. These Bollywood stars aren’t simply selling a product but also raising questions about inclusivity. Which is why Taapsee Pannu and her brand of fearless cinema fit seamlessly into the SUGAR Cosmetics concept for the #BoldAndFree campaign. “What makes Taapsee such a clutter-breaking talent is the versatility that has helped her don different roles with ease – not different from SUGAR’s products that are designed to take on and suit every Indian skin tone making consumers feel beautiful in their own skin. Collaborating with Taapsee as the face for the campaign has amplified the brand’s reach to a large audience,” shares Vineeta Singh, CEO and co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics.

So even as we continue seeing Bollywood’s most beautiful faces in digital campaigns for India’s burgeoning beauty brands, the approach definitely goes beyond face value.

Akshita Nahar Jain
Sr Associate Editor
Akshita Nahar Jain has worked with various publications, including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar Bride, and Time Out Delhi, and written extensively on fashion and lifestyle. A sucker for alliteration and stylish sitcoms, she enjoys scrolling the web for less travelled destinations.