Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Bhumi Pednekar joins ranks of Rihanna, Lady Gaga for MAC Cosmetics' VIVA Glam charity initiative

The actor is the global makeup brand's first Indian ambassador, and sale proceeds of the limited-edition lipstick launched with her name and signature will be donated to support women and girls' rights, HIV/AIDS relief efforts and the LGBTQIA+ community

Kunal Purandare
Published: Jul 10, 2023 11:02:53 AM IST
Updated: Jul 10, 2023 01:44:43 PM IST

Bhumi Pednekar joins ranks of Rihanna, Lady Gaga for MAC Cosmetics' VIVA Glam charity initiativeBhumi Pednekar has a limited-edition lipstick with her name and signature on it as part of MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam charitable initiative.

Bhumi Pednekar’s tryst with MAC Cosmetics goes back to her teenage years. The actor fondly recalls waiting for the global brand to open its first store in India and saving money to buy its lipstick. As destiny would have it, the 33-year-old was named MAC Cosmetics India’s first brand ambassador in 2021. And now, she has a limited-edition lipstick with her name and signature on it as part of MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam charitable initiative. With this collaboration, she joins the likes of past Viva Glam ambassadors such as Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin and Elton John, among others.  

“I have followed most of the VIVA Glam campaigns. And there have been such iconic people that I admire… I have aspired to be like them, so now to be in their company, to be added to the list of people who have a VIVA Glam campaign is extremely surreal. I am overwhelmed. And to have a lipstick named after you is a dream. I think this is any girl’s dream,” beams Pednekar, who is the first Indian ambassador on the list.

The VIVA Glam initiative supports healthy futures and equal rights for all. Since it began in 1994, it has raised $500 million globally. MAC (Make-up Art Cosmetics) is part of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Since its creation in Toronto, Canada, over 30 years ago, the brand’s products are sold in over 100 countries/territories worldwide.
“It’s a longstanding initiative with MAC. It’s the brand’s charitable initiative… our founding motto is all ages, all races, all genders,” explains Karen Thompson, brand manager, MAC Cosmetics India. “VIVA Glam is not for the sake of it, it’s the real deal. In India alone, we have donated over Rs19 crore to multiple organisations that fit within the mission.”  

The entire proceeds from the sale of the lipstick will go to local organisations that support women and girls’ rights, HIV/AIDS relief efforts and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pednekar says it’s a lipstick that gives back 100 percent. “This collaboration has happened for a bigger reason. I am happy that a lipstick that has been named after me is doing some good… it is helping us create a world that, as Karen says, is equal for all ages, races and genders,” she tells Forbes India. “I hope everyone who’s a fan of the brand buys this because this lipstick holds a lot of meaning, it’s going to help us transform the world into a kinder place.”  

The brand, says Thompson, is at a pivotal space in its growth in India and this seems like a perfect moment to give back to communities within the country. “Some of the organisations we have worked with include the Humsafar Trust in Mumbai, the Naz Foundation in Delhi, YRGCARE in Chennai and the Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT) in Mumbai,” she says. “With this lipstick, we have identified two new grantees: CCDT that supports empowering adolescents around their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the Kolkata-based Organisation for Friends Energies and Resources that runs Anandaghar, where we will support children on the outskirts of Kolkata who are affected with or living with HIV/AIDS. It will take care of their basic needs like food, nutrition, schooling.”

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Priced at Rs2,200, the lipstick, says Pednekar, has a beautiful, soft pink, mauve colour, and suits all skin tones. The actor emphasises that she was involved in the entire process—from choosing the shade to testing the product—as “it comes with a lot of responsibility”.

Known to be vocal about the adverse effects of climate change, Pednekar is only too happy to use her star status to create awareness about causes and issues impacting society, and the world, at large. “If I can be a part in transforming even a single life, I am going to take it up. I have tried doing it with the work that I have done in the past—on screen and off screen. My being is about giving back. That is the ethos of my life. That’s why this collaboration is special,” she says.

MAC Cosmetics, too, feels they’ve found the right partner in the Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Badhaai Do actor to advocate a healthy and equal world for all. “Bhumi is perfect for an association like this because she is someone who uses her platform to influence meaningful change,” says Thompson.

As a public figure, the actor believes she has many ways and means, including cinema and brand collaborations, to send across the right message. “As someone who is in the public eye, who can influence a lot of minds, it is important to know that you hold the power to bring about positive change,” says Pednekar.