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A Beauty Company Is Using Their Holiday Ad To Call Attention To Los Angeles’s Homeless Crisis

Laura Geller’s latest holiday campaign is putting a spotlight on what makeup means to seven women experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in their “Makeup Means Something” campaign. To make “Makeup Means Something” happen, Laura Geller Beauty partnered with Beauty 2 The Streetz, a nonprofit organization founded by Shirley Rains that offers “the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see,” according to the nonprofit website. Laura Geller is featuring the seven cisgender and transgender women in their 2019 holiday campaign to “help dispel misconceptions and demonstrate the power of beauty,” according to a statement by Laura Geller.

The campaign video opens with black and white footage of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Then, Tamara’s voice telling us, “Living on skid row is really tough. You just have to be focused and keep your mind on your goals. Just because I’m homeless… that doesn’t define me.”

The women’s reactions in the video are powerful.

CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE

“It makes me feel like a human being again. It makes me feel like a special person again,” Quoitorious Bagley’s voice softly asserts as we see her pose for photographers. “All the makeup combined together is really magical. It brings out the beauty that you thought was lost within you, and lets you know that it has not left. It was always within you,” she eloquently told Laura Geller. Beauty 2 the Streetz founder Shirley Raines puts the whole experience beautifully: “You can take makeup off, but you can’t wash away the feeling it gave you. Based on what each of these seven women had to say about the experience, Raines is right. “These makeovers are really powerful. They really are very healing,” Nancy Woodward, 58, said. “Nancy’s lived on Skid Row since 2011, and is attempting to find hope in her situation.” Laura Geller Beauty said in a social media post. “It’s like a light breaking through a thick darkness and it gives you a ray of hope and you start to feel better about yourself and it’s very powerful,” Woodward said. The video aptly chooses not to convey any “before” photos of the women and just allows their spirits to shine through based on how they choose to express themselves through beauty. While we meet each of these women, we hear their voices in the background.

“It instantly brightens me up, gives me joy and happiness,” another woman said.

CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE

We are building friendships based on equality and compassion and it is this, more than simply the hair and makeup, that brings beauty to the streets,” Raines (pictured right) asserts in her nonprofit’s mission statement. So far, Beauty 2 the Streetz has been able to offer meals, showers, hair wash and color, make-up, wigs and human connection to over 400 people experiencing homelessness. “The people of skid row are just like everyone one else,” Beauty 2 The Streetz explains on their website. “They are people who have fallen on hard times who didnʼt have that lifeline to pull them out. Shirley is a beacon of hope in LAʼs ever-increasing homeless population. Every Saturday, rain or shine, she and her team come out to share a hot home-cooked meal, conversation, and most importantly connection.”

Laura Geller funded Beauty 2 the Streetz to do what it does best– remind women living on the streets of their natural beauty. “I believe that beauty is supposed to enhance, not cover up. That’s why I love my natural hair and my natural skin. This look accentuates my natural beauty,” Cherish Benham, 29, (pictured left) told Laura Geller Beauty.

Carmen Tolentino, 40, was one of the trans women that the campaign affirmed.

CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE

Laura Geller Beauty is going beyond offering beauty services. The brand is trying to raise money for Beauty 2 The Streetz by selling the limited edition tee-shirt every model is wearing. All proceeds of the Laura Geller and Beauty 2 The Streetz branded fitted shirt will be donated to the nonprofit to continue its mission to elevate spirits in the Skid Row community.

You can support Beauty 2 The Streetz by donating to the organization or buying your own collab T-shirt here.

CREDIT: @LAURAGELLERBEAUTY / INSTAGRAM

“Laura Geller understands that everyone deserves to feel beautiful, regardless of where they lay their head at night and that’s a bold statement,” Raines said in a statement, adding that not all brands want to partner with a nonprofit that helps the homeless, “as if it’s wrong to be without.”

Watch the full video below!

What do you think about the campaign?

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