By  on February 2, 2007

When Queen Latifah talks, people listen.

The actress, singer and spokesmodel for Cover Girl’s Queen Collection, a makeup line designed for women of color, attracted more than 2,000 women at Manhattan’s B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on Monday who competed in an open casting call with the hope of becoming the brand’s new face for a June print advertising campaign.

“The brand itself was made for real women,” said Queen Latifah. “When the advertising agency wanted to include regular women in the campaign, I thought it really celebrated who we were targeting — an average, everyday woman of color with a story to tell.”

A total of 312 women — the number that could be seen due to time restrictions — auditioned for a panel of judges that included Queen Latifah and Procter & Gamble executives Esi Eggleston Bracey, vice president and general manager of North American cosmetics, and Lisa Reynolds, a Cover Girl brand manager. Each woman had 30 seconds to sell herself, explaining why she should be the makeup line’s new face and how she’s achieved inner and outer beauty. Thirty-six women advanced to the second round of auditions on Tuesday, held at Grey Worldwide, the ad firm handling Cover Girl ads. The new face — or faces; more than one winner is being considered — will not be revealed for another two weeks.

“It’s about inside and outside beauty and celebrating the ‘Queen’ in you,” said Eggleston Bracey. “We’re looking for someone who can be a role model for others and can look like and be a queen. It’s about everything from personality and responsibility to outlook and spirit.”

Queen Latifah, a Cover Girl spokeswoman since 2001, teamed up with the company last year to launch her own makeup line, a collection that includes foundation, lip gloss, lipstick, mascara, nail polish, eye shadow, eyeliner and lip liner. According to Eggleston Bracey, the Queen collection will expand its distribution to 3,000 doors nationwide by the end of this year. Prices range from $2.83 for the 3-in-1 Step Nail Color to $6.50 for the Liquid Make-Up.

“Our brand has done so well that customers have asked us to introduce it in more doors,” said Eggleston Bracey.For Queen Latifah, the Cover Girl brand is more about “enhancing natural beauty” than simple makeup application.

“Whenever I try to align myself with something, it’s always about respecting women of color,” said Queen Latifah. “Women should have the opportunity to look just as pretty as someone who can afford the most expensive makeup.”

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