The launch of the new fragrance Avon Prima is so exciting for me for a number of reasons. Although we first learned about the launch during #AvonRepfest in Las Vegas the news really began to gain traction for the outside world after we returned. Consequently at the same time as the 2016 Olympics (but I'll
After returning we found an article published by Allure magazine entitled "Avon Names Ballerina Courtney Lavine the Face of Its New Fragrance". As I read the interview with Courtney Lavine I thought, "WOW! A woman of color!". A brown ballerina!
While this is far from the first time that Avon featured a famous coffee flavored woman as the face of AvonProducts (remember Jennifer Hudson for Imari Seduction or America's Next Top Model's Eva Pigford and Toccara Jones who have also graced the pages of the Avon Brochure) I felt so much pride to see another brown skinned woman celebrated for her talents, for something positive, AND in a field where she was breaking stereotypes. For Avon to look past her skin color and see Ms. Lavine for her talent, and moreover to celebrate that and honor her by making her the face of their fragrance, almost brought me to tears.
I began to think across the faces I see in the Avon brochure from a variety of ages and ethnicities and I Ioved the Avon company even more. At a time when there's so much division, when conversations arise on social media about what is or isn't beautiful, or whether dark skin was a good or bad thing, here was Avon saying (again) "Yes! All women are beautiful. That's a no brainier."
I thought about the US women's gymnastics team with such a wonderful mix of girls from a variety of backgrounds, Simone Biles who people say might be the greatest gymnast of all time, and Simone Manuel from the US swim team's bringing home not 1 but 2 Olympic medals, and Gold at that. Plus so many others.
I also recalled that episode of A Different World "To Have and Have Not" where the students of Hillman (probably among my first role models of color) volunteered at a youth-center and Whitley decides to teach the young girls ballet. That moment where one of those girls exclaims "She's not a ballerina...She's black!". It was a line that was meant to be funny but after all these years it still resonated with me. Remembering the brief but uncomfortable feeling in my chest as I acknowledged that there were still things people thought people of color couldn't or shouldn't do.
While I never had an interest in ballet when I was young, fast forward to later in my life where people told me that as a woman I should consider studying something other than Architecture. That I should reconsider because there are so few female architects and even fewer architects of color. Not to mention both black AND female. A combination which by peoples exclamations sounded harder to find than the Loch Ness monster.
I got almost teary as I thought about the number of women of color with a positive legacy that this generation has to look up to despite the stereo types and negative remarks in the media. As Chris Rock said for them there's nothing unusual about little black girls in the white house.
While Prima isn't about race, it's about ballet I'm so proud of Avon for embracing, representing and celebrating different ethnicities in just this way. I'm also so delighted to work with a company that believes in women regardless of their appearance. That is showing young girls that they're beautiful and can accomplish anything.
This gives yet another meaning to beauty for a purpose.