2020 was the year for celebrity beauty brands. Selena Gomez is one of the celebrities who launched her very own called Rare Beauty. Rare Beauty sells makeup products and tools like any other beauty brand. What makes them different from other celebrity beauty brands and beauty brands, in general, is their philanthropic mission. Rare Beauty focuses on preaching self-love and raising awareness and money for mental health support and services. This article explores Selena Gomez’s motivation in creating Rare Beauty, how the brand lives out their mission, and their successes so far.
Selena Gomez’s Journey with Physical & Mental Health
Selena Gomez first stepped into the public eye in 2007 when she started appearing on the Disney Channel. Since then, she has acted in many projects, released music and toured, done philanthropy work, and started her own business. Although she has experienced much success and still does to this day, the past 15 years in the spotlight have not been the easiest for her. Selena Gomez has experienced multiple physical and mental health issues that have taken a huge toll on her but have also led her to where she is today.
2014-2015: Lupus Diagnosis
In 2014, Selena Gomez was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of the body. Due to the nature of the disease, it causes a lot of different symptoms such as extreme fatigue, swelling, headaches, low fevers, and more. Selena Gomez had to undergo chemotherapy and spend two weeks in rehab as part of her treatment. At the time of her diagnosis and treatment, Selena Gomez didn’t make anything public. However, when the press found out that she was in rehab, they started spreading malicious rumors that her entering rehab was due to substance abuse or that she was unable to deal with her breakup with Justin Bieber. Despite all the rumors, she waited to reveal the real reason why she took a break and went to rehab until 2015.
2016: Her Return to Rehab
In addition to the physical symptoms of lupus, there are side effects such as anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, all of which Selena Gomez was dealing with. This led her to check back into and spend 90 days in rehab in August 2016. This happened while she was mid-tour, so she had to cancel the rest of her shows for the Revival World Tour.
Another reason that made everything all the more difficult for Selena Gomez was that she was seen as a role model for young children. There is a lot of stigma around rehab, which the press makes worse. With other celebrities, especially child stars, the press has villainized them going to rehab by portraying them as people who don’t have their lives together and are on a downhill spiral. The press equates them to being terrible role models for the youth, which they also projected onto Selena Gomez.
2017-2018: Social Media and Hospitalizations
In March 2017, Selena Gomez became the most followed person on Instagram. A lot of people may see this as a great achievement, but to Selena Gomez, she was scared. She was constantly on the app, looking at photos, and reading comments. Her desire to look at what everyone had to say about her online made her realize how toxic social media was to her health. That same month, she decided to remove the Instagram app from her phone and give her assistant complete control of all her social media accounts. She sends her assistant photos and captions, but she does not post anything herself anymore.
In the summer of 2017, Selena Gomez received a life-saving kidney transplant from her friend and fellow actress, Francia Raisa, after experiencing kidney failure due to complications from lupus. Selena Gomez received a lot of support when the news about her kidney transplant went public. Continuing on improving her health, she spent two weeks in treatment where she concentrated on therapy, healthy eating, meditation, and pilates in February 2018.
As those who suffer from mental health struggles know, one’s condition can fluctuate.
In October 2018, she was hospitalized after she became despondent and emotional over a low white blood cell count. Seeing the poor condition of her physical health caused her to suffer mentally and led her to be re-hospitalized for the second time in a span of two weeks. She had to receive treatment in the form of dialectical behavior therapy, which teaches patients mindfulness, healthy communication and behavioral patterns, and emotional regulation.
2020-2021: Opening Up
Selena Gomez also suffers from bipolar disorder, a disorder marked by alternating or intermixed periods of mania and depression. She was originally diagnosed with the disorder in 2018 but did not reveal her diagnosis to the public until 2020. Ever since first revealing her lupus diagnosis, Selena Gomez has been very open about her physical health and mental health struggles. Her openness about her conditions didn’t take away the suffering she was enduring being in the public eye. In an Elle cover story published in August 2021, Selena Gomez said, “My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks — these were all things that honestly should have taken me down. Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?’” Rather than letting everything get the best of her, Selena Gomez used her struggles and experiences to help her create Rare Beauty.
Selena Gomez announced Rare Beauty on February 4, 2020, via her Instagram account. The brand launched officially on September 3, 2020. The name “Rare” is a reference to her third studio album of the same name. Selena Gomez says, “I had always wanted the name Rare. [Rare] has become the identity of my brand and who I want to be, which is showing people that being diverse and different, whatever was happening, I wanted it to feel like you were included.”
Their Beauty Mission
On the beauty end, Selena Gomez created Rare Beauty because she wants to empower women to wear makeup because they want to, not because they need to. There are a lot of unrealistic standards of beauty out there that are further perpetuated by makeup and the media. These unrealistic standards have affected Selena Gomez as a celebrity and as a normal person. She said, “I’ve spent years of my life trying to look like other people. I would see an image, and I would be like, ‘My gosh, why don’t I look like that?’” Some of her missions with Rare Beauty are to destroy unrealistic beauty standards and tell people to stop comparing themselves to others and embrace their natural beauty and uniqueness. To do this, Selena Gomez has created beauty products that are buildable and cater to natural and glowing makeup looks. By doing this, people who use Rare Beauty products can enhance their natural beauty and features rather than using the products to completely cover or change their features. In addition to the beauty-related missions, Selena Gomez also has missions related to mental health.
Rare Impact Fund
Before the launch of the beauty brand, Selena Gomez created the Rare Impact Fund, which she launched on her 28th birthday (July 22, 2020). The purpose behind the Rare Impact Fund is to increase access to mental health services in educational settings. Selena Gomez finds this specific mental health cause important because of her personal experience with not being educated on mental health. It was not until she experienced difficulties with her own mental health and received treatment that she got properly educated on the subject. She specifically wants to help the youth as she was young when she first experienced having anxiety and depression. She says, “If I had learned about my mental health earlier on — been taught about my condition in school that way I was taught about other subjects — my journey could have looked very different. The world needs to know that mental health matters. It’s just as important as your physical health, and I wish we could all acknowledge that, not just in words but through our actions.” As mental health impacts all people, Rare Beauty supports mental well-being across age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, cultural background, physical or mental ability, and perspective.
What does the Rare Impact Fund do?
The goal with the Rare Impact Fund is to raise $100m within ten years to support people with mental health issues. To help reach their goal, Rare Beauty donates 1% of all gross sales to the Rare Impact Fund. They also raise additional funds with philanthropic foundations, corporate partners, and individuals in their community. They currently have 11 different partners and support local, national, and global organizations. 100% of their donations are directed to their grantees and strategic initiatives. They decide where their funds go through grantmaking directed by their Advisory Board. In addition to having an Advisory Board, they also have a Mental Health Council comprised of leading mental health experts and professionals with lived experience to help them out in their efforts.
On top of having the Fund, Rare Beauty has information and resources on mental health on their website under their “Rare Impact” tab. They have articles on mental health topics like How to Be There For Others, Anxiety 101, Depression 101, How to Support Black LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, and How to Talk About Mental Health. They also hold events called “Rare Chats” where randomly selected community members discuss the importance of friendships and all things Rare Beauty via weekly video chats. Selena Gomez started Rare Chats because of how much she enjoyed and benefited from having a small group of people to talk to when she received therapy at rehabilitation facilities.
Rare Beauty’s Success in Their Mission
Rare Beauty is the largest known corporate entity to support mental health. The brand was able to generate $60 million in revenue in about 5 months from its launch and was ranked the 8th most successful celebrity beauty brand. In their first year, the Rare Impact Fund gave $1.2 million in grants to eight mental health and education-focused organizations. Two of those organizations were Rare Beauty’s partners, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. These groups provide services such as suicide prevention training and mentoring programs.
Mental Health 101 Campaign
In May 2021, Rare Beauty held its Mental Health 101 campaign. They chose May specifically because it’s Mental Health Awareness Month. The campaign’s initiative was to inform and build a community around mental health support and awareness. To help them reach their $100m in 10 years goal and provide more mental health services in educational settings, they wanted to raise money through donations and get signatures on their Mental Health 101 petition. The campaign was held entirely on Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Through informational posts on social media platforms, Rare Beauty was able to raise $82,000 for their Rare Impact Fund, get over 60,000 signatures for their Mental Health 101 petition, and generate over 300,000 social engagements across all platforms. The brand also decided to match $200,000 in donations during the month of May to their Rare Impact Fund. Overall, the campaign was very successful and would be beneficial to hold every year during the month of May.
It is very admirable that Selena Gomez is very open about her experiences and wants to make an impact when it comes to mental health. She recognizes that she has a platform and is actively using it to make a change. Some may argue that she doesn’t need a beauty brand to fulfill her mission and should only focus on the Rare Impact Fund if she truly wants to make an impact on mental health. However, Rare Beauty has shown through their successes so far that their initiative works. By raising money through product sales, Rare Beauty can provide products to consumers, while still preaching self-love,educating, spreading awareness, and raising funds for mental health support and services. Therefore, Rare Beauty is a smart venture that will hopefully become more successful in all of their missions.