Award-winning author and celebrated feminist speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the new face of Boots No7 make-up, with her debut campaign launching on Friday. Boots is not alone in recognising the draw of Adichie, whose much-celebrated TED talks have been sampled by Beyoncé and featured on T-shirts in Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut Dior show earlier this month. Said TED talks have received millions of views across the world, she has three critically acclaimed novels under her belt and just days ago she contributed a “thank-you note” to US First Lady Michelle Obama for The New York Times T Magazine cover feature. This is a woman with influence.
In Vogue’s November 2016 Real Issue, in “The New Face Of Beauty: You”, she said of the campaign: “I think much of beauty advertising relies on a false premise – that women need to be treated in an infantile way, given a ‘fantasy’ to aspire to… Real women are already inspired by other real women, so perhaps beauty advertising needs to get on board.”
The campaign launches on television, online, in print and in outdoor media on October 21, with Adichie speaking about how she used to fear being taken less seriously because of her love of make-up, but later came to embrace it as a tool, an enhancement and as part of her own identity.
“I love make-up and its wonderful possibilities for temporary transformation. And I also love my face after I wash it all off,” she said in a statement. “There is something exquisitely enjoyable about seeing yourself with a self-made new look. And for me that look is deeply personal. It isn’t about what is in fashion or what the rules are supposed to be. It’s about what I like. What makes me want to smile when I look in the mirror. What makes me feel slightly better on a dull day. What makes me comfortable.”
And Adichie feels the same way about fashion – she told Vogue last year that she often designs her own clothes using crayons her husband gave her, and then working with local tailors to bring them to life. “I do all these drawings for my clothes,” she told Erica Wagner. “Really terrible drawings. But I love to do them, and he gave me the crayons so I could add a little bit of colour.” In the same interview she told Wagner that she “always” carries her own make-up base with her due to a lack of shades for black skin, though perhaps No7’s commitment to inclusivity and the broadest possible shade range will change this.
“At No7 we believe that when women know their make-up is just right they feel great, they feel ready to show up in the world in the way they want,” said Kristof Neirynck, the vice president of skincare and global brands for Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Chimamanda was the perfect choice for us, as not only is she an inspirational woman, we share the same philosophy about beauty.”