1. MAC was founded when a makeup artist and a photographer became frustrated by how bad most makeup seemed to read in photos. In 1984, beauty salon owner Frank Angelo and photographer Frank Toskan created M.A.C cosmetics in their kitchens to fulfill their professional makeup needs. They decided to package their products in black pots instead of compacts, and that quickly became the company's signature.
7 surprising things you didn't know about MAC cosmetics
Most of the makeup Natalie Portman's character in Black Swan wore was MAC.
2. One of MAC's first big breaks occurred when Madonna wore its lipstick. According to MAC's website, Madonna wore an "intense matte red lipstick" on a photoshoot in the late '80s. She was later photographed wearing a M.A.C. T-shirt, and people began to take notice of the company.
3. RuPaul was the first Viva Glam spokesperson in 1994.
While other makeup companies were casting established supermodels as the faces of their ad campaigns, M.A.C. went the unconventional route and tapped a drag queen from Atlanta named Ru Paul to be their first ever Viva Glam spokesperson. The campaign used this (awesome) tagline: "We won't look down on you, and we won't intimidate you, because we know what it was like to be picked on by the cool kids. And guess what? Now we're the cool kids."
4. Since its inception in 1994, MAC's Viva Glam campaign has raised $380 million dollars. The program began as a way to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS at a time when it was largely misunderstood and underrepresented. Now, the company is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding and is the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver providing support for a cure. Multiple celebrities have been involved in Viva Glam campaigns, including Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and, most recently, Ariana Grande.
5. MAC sells more lipstick than any other non-drugstore brand. That's according to research conducted by the NPD Group in 2012. M.A.C.'s lipstick sales beat both Lancome's L'Absolu Rough and Estee Lauder's Pure Color Lipstick. And today, M.A.C. is currently sold in 106 countries and territories.
5. Most of the makeup Natalie Portman's character in Black Swan wore was MAC.
The film's makeup artist Judy Chin used almost entirely MAC products to achieve Portman's freaky swan makeup. She rimmed Portman's inner eyes with M.A.C Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved, painted MAC. Pro Chromaline Eye-Liner Gel/Crème in Black Black all over and slightly under her eyes, and thinly drew MAC Pro Chromaline Eye-Liner Gel/Crème in Basic Red under Portman's lower lashes. (Heads up to anyone already thinking about next year's Halloween costume plans.)
6. Makeup artists can sign up for a special program with the company to get 40 percent off MAC products. The M.A.C PRO Membership program was the first-ever membership program for makeup professionals in the industry. Today, makeup artists who show proper certification can pay $35 a year to become a member of the program. They'll get perks like getting the chance to attend master classes, networking events, and of course, a huge discount on every single M.A.C. product.
7. One man is largely responsible for creating all of the colors and concepts for the brand. In 1998, Estée Lauder bought M.A.C., and then in 1999, a man named James Gager became the company's creative director. He's responsible for thinking up all the colors and promotional material surrounding the brand. His philosophy behind creating M.A.C. products? "I don't do pretty. I don't like pretty. And frankly, I find things that are pretty to be very boring." Seems to be working out so far.
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