Fans of R&B star Janelle Monae have been applauding Cover Girl's decision to feature the soulful stunner in its ads. But the decision is somewhat surprising - in a good way.
When Cover Girl was founded in 1960, the company promoted classic Cali-esque looks. The first spokeswomen - actresses Jennifer O'Neill and Cybill Shepherd - and then later Christie Brinkley, who had the longest-running beauty contract in history, were very wholesome and very white.
In recent years, major drugstore brands like L'Oreal and Revlon have courted different customers, nabbing Halle Berry and Freida Pinto. And Cover Girl hired Tyra Banks. But those actresses still sported traditional looks and styles. Not Janelle.
Janelle's affinity for sky-high hairstyles and menswear suits makes her look slightly androgynous. Though she has classic features, her style is anything but. And that makes the Cover Girl choice bold - and even a little inspired.
"Growing up and trying to find myself as a woman and experimenting with makeup, I'd go buy magazines," she told Vogue.com. "I'd see Tyra Banks [in the CoverGirl ads] and I'd think, Wow, she's beautiful. It never looked like she had on too much makeup. There was just something clean and classic about her face."
Even when Janelle's sporting a tuxedo jacket she still manages to bring a softer edge to menswear. Her 2011 Grammy outfit featured a sparkling jacket, satin dress pants and black platform heels. The impeccably tailored ensemble was a chic and feminine way to add a twist to Janelle's signature monochromatic look.
The soulful singer cites George Esquivel as a favorite for dress shoes, but she also adores classic riding boots. Neckwear is high on her list, too, choosing softer fabrics and patterns to add a girlie spin. We especially love this satin-lapel jacket and shiny leather necktie!
We aren't the only Janelle Monae fans. Iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld has taken a liking to the rising star saying, "We liked each other from the first second on. Not just because of our style but because of the name - Janelle rhymes with Chanel, no?" In 2011 the two appeared together in a spread for W magazine. In the photographs Janelle sported a vintage Chanel jacket and white blouse, also by the design house.
Despite Lagerfeld's seal of approval, the deal was still a gutsy and clever move on Cover Girl's part. And we couldn't be happier.