Ranking The Mac Viva Glam Campaigns From The RuPaul Alphabet to Rihanna's Mucus Green Get-up

Staunch proponent of the Nae Nae Miley Cyrus has been anointed Mac's newest Viva Glam spokesperson. With this title, Cyrus will join the leagues of such eminent pop culture personae as Rupaul Charles, Elton John, Missy Elliott, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and many more who've all teamed up with MAC's HIV/AIDS fund. In addition to MAC's humanitarian mission of donating 100% of commercial proceeds go people effected by HIV/AIDS, they consistently turns out some of the most artful campaigns every year for Viva Glam. Needless to say, Miles has a few tough acts to follow.

MAC ads are pretty much always killer, but Viva Glam has cultivated a style all its own. Since the effort launched in 1994, these unmistakable images are stylishly eye-popping visual feasts, carrying a signature tongue-in-cheek wit and an infectious spirit of play. From RuPaul to Miley, I'm taking on the task of ranking all of these gorgeous campaigns. Gird your loins, kids. There's about to be a lotta glitter up in here.

by Arielle Dachille

Viva Glam V

The brainstorming session for Viva Glam’s 2004 campaign probably went something like this: “Let’s book everyone we can and make rhinestone t-shirts.” Even if they overachieved with casting by landing Dirrty-era X-Tina, Missy Elliott, Boy George, Linda Evangelista, Pamela Anderson, and Chloe Sevigny, this campaign is at the bottom of the totem pole aesthetically. Ugh, that was hard. Look at me, killing my darlings!

Image: MAC

Mac Viva Glam VI

Eve, Fergie, Debbie Harry, and Dita Von Teese made up the next cast of Viva Glamazons. The governing premise of this ad is still “just get famous people to the shoot,” but at least they hired a better stylist and turned on a sultry red light this time.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam Miley Cyrus

Just saying…Whatever anti-gravity chamber Miley is bouncing around in looks pretty fun.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam Rihanna

In her 2014 ad, Rihanna is a flawless pop nymph whose otherworldly beauty compensates for any lack of an interesting photo composition. Also, if her stylist is out there in the webiverse reading this, this article counts as my formal request to see more mucus green on RiRi.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam Nicki & Ricky

What can I say, guys? I’m a sucker for a campy background. Although the set design is nothing short of genius on this 2013 ad, I feel like Ricki Martin was just photoshopped into the scene as an afterthought. It comes off as slightly disjointed.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam Lady Gaga & Cyndi Lauper

Despite the fact that the set looks a tough Dylan’s Candy Bar-esque,, I’ve gotta give this 2010 ad some props. Gaga and Cyndi Lauper have palpable chemistry between them that makes this image really jump off the page. However, I am decidedly less fond of “Ghost of Christmas Present” Gaga at right.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam III

Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim’s 2000 campaign may come on strong with the glitz, but the subtleties are what make ‘em count. Even if I’m typically anti-photoshop, the CRAZY airbrushing on Kim’s body in the ad on the right makes for an interesting, obvious doll-like effect that is intended to look artificial. Also, let’s talk about how the image on the left is the perfect promotional poster for Kim and Blige’s LOGO made-for-TV-Movie: “The Other Golden Girls Take Dudeland.”

Image: MAC

Viva Glam II

K.D. Lang may not be a traditional “lipstick lesbian,” but she sure can sell some lipstick. Viva Glam’s 1997 sophomore voyage with Lang perfectly encapsulates the winky sense of humor that makes these ads so engaging.

Image: MAC

Viva Glam IV

When Elton John, Mary J. Blige and Shirley Manson teamed up for the 2003 Viva Glam-paign, everybody won. The clothes, the set design, the energy are all in perfect synch. Plus, a special shout-out to the Big Band-style stage scene with cotton candy clouds. I was so into that as a teen.

Image: Magazines&Books; MAC

Viva Glam I

As an activist and trailblazer for LGBTQ rights, RuPaul Charles was the perfect spokeswoman for the lip-bullett’s inaugural run in 1994. No hard feelings to the other spokespeople, but you just can’t compete with RuPaul’s “going through labor” pose. Behold! Working the camera at its finest.

Image: MAC