Why did you decide to work with M·A·C and VIVA GLAM?
I’ve always been drawn to M·A·C because it isn’t a judgmental brand and I relate to that because I don’t consider myself judgmental. We both love having fun and we’re not ashamed of that.
We’re not afraid to talk about sex and we want to encourage young people to be safe. HIV/AIDS is something that can be avoided. I think people just have to be aware of that. Nobody is protected from it. There’s not any religion or any culture or any race or any generation that cannot get AIDS or HIV. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves and get tested to know our status, and spread the word.
Why HIV/AIDS? And why are you focusing on young people?
HIV/AIDS has been a big epidemic for my generation– it’s been around for as long as I’ve been alive. Nearly half of the new people infected are 24 years old and under, and most of them are females. As a young female I think it’s important that young people know there’s nothing wrong with having fun, nobody is telling us to be square or be boring, but we have to be safe. Young people, we have this thing about us, this invincibility, because we’re young and we’re growing up and we want to have fun, and we want to be crazy, and nothing’s wrong with that unless you’re not being responsible. It’s important for us to open our eyes and take control of our health and our bodies.
I wanted to lend my voice to create something that would truly make a difference. With M·A·C VIVA GLAM, every penny of the cost of the lipstick goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund, which directly goes to people who are affected by HIV and AIDS around the world. To-date the M·A·C AIDS Fund has raised more than $315 million USD…that’s a lot of lipsticks.
How do you suggest people start educating themselves, especially in those countries that don’t speak much about HIV/AIDS?
I think that one of the biggest ways to increase awareness right now on any topic of course is via social media, word of mouth, getting into the communities and really speaking to people. But it starts with you. It starts with your personal status, it starts with your efforts and what are you doing to protect yourself, and what are you doing to protect others, even if you are infected. We all have to readjust our thinking. It’s hard to imagine, but we cant think of HIV/AIDS as being somebody else’s story. It could be any of ours.
You started out working with M·A·C as its first ever Creative Partner and created several collections. Did you know then that you were going to be the next VIVA GLAM spokesperson?
After the success of the RiRi Woo and really the reactions to all my lipsticks, we started talking about doing VIVA GLAM. It made so much sense. We thought, if these lipsticks were so successful, imagine how much we could help people with HIV and AIDS. The stars were certainly aligned.
How is VIVA GLAM Rihanna different from RiRi Woo?
RiRi Woo was the very first product I created in my partnership with M·A·C– it’s a true matte red. Since my fans really loved it, and I know that women love red lips right now, I knew I wanted create do something in that red tone and just upgrade it a bit. So for VIVA GLAM Rihanna, I added a little bit of frost, so the texture is more shiny- not as matte as RiRi Woo. And because 100 percent of the sales price goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund, it was very important that this lipstick could work on many different complexions. At M·A·C we like to say, buy a lipstick, save a life.
Why is lipstick your favorite makeup product?
To me makeup is a major accessory. It can change an outfit, it can make the outfit, it can be the outfit, and that’s why I like to play with it. Lipstick can glam up a whole look– especially in red.