On March 6, the latest installment of Milk Makeup's "Live Your Look" campaign arrived — and it's incredibly badass. "Blur the Lines" is a collaboration between Milk Makeup and men's beauty and grooming site Very Good Light, and aims to celebrate diversity, individuality, and embracing gender diverse self-expression through makeup.
"My main objective in my work is to create unity and equality by representing the spectrum of self-expression," Milk Makeup Creative Director Georgie Greville tells Bustle. She says the name "Blur the Lines" comes both from literally blurring the lines of rigid gender expectations, and from Milk Makeup's Blur Stick, "an incredible pore and line blurring product that truly works for any gender or skin tone," she says. "We call it the universal face filter."
She and entrepreneur David Yi, who is the founder of Very Good Light, came together to "[create] a metaphor for the product that really spoke to its deeper, revolutionary meaning in the industry — a truly universal product for anyone that could help you feel like who you really are on the gender fluidity spectrum," she tells Bustle. "And bam, we just looked at each other and 'Blur the Lines' came out!"
When casting the campaign, Greville and Yi "wanted to present as many angles of gender as possible with a focus on ambiguous, line-blurring individuals," Greville explains. "Blur the Lines" models include Avie Acosta, Dagsen Love, Eric Stone Carson, Madeleine Vintback, Marcelo Gutierrez, Rayne Nadurata, and Eddy LeRoy.
Yi tells Bustle that Very Good Light is all about "redefining masculinity through a men's beauty/grooming lens." One the website, gender-related stories like this one, about a young black man dissecting hypermasculinity, have been common fare since the launch in October 2016.
He adds that, "'Blur the Lines,' then, is all about how we collectively blur the lines when it comes to our own gender identities. It's on a spectrum. And we want to know that we not only promote diversity, but we are complete allies to anyone and everyone whose gender identities might not fit the traditional norm."
Launching Very Good Light and participating in "Blur the Lines" are parts of Yi's journey to create a place in the beauty sphere where masculine people, particularly gender-nonconforming men, can see themselves.
"When I launched Very Good Light, it was for a lot of young men who didn't fit into that traditional heteronormative, hypermasculine box," he says. "I know I never did. When I looked at the media landscape, there wasn't one publication that I could go to where I felt I belonged. No one truly spoke to this new generation of men."
Greville says she intends for "Blur the Lines," the first step in a "much bigger exploration into the spectrum of individuality," to encourage a genderless view of makeup.
"I hope the takeaway is that beauty is self-expression and self-expression should have no boundaries," she tells Bustle. "Genderless beauty means exactly that. We are all one of one and need to learn to see each other that way. I am really excited about the potential of makeup to help do that and let us see each other and our unique, individual beauty better."
And the effort to carve a space where people of all genders can use makeup without criticism is "not just a trend," Yi adds. "It's here to stay."
You can check out the "Blur the Lines" campaign video below.
Brands like Milk Makeup making genuine commitments to including gender-nonconforming people in their campaigns is a necessary step toward being truly inclusive of their diverse customer base.