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Influence Peddler: Gigi Gorgeous on Her New Charitable Beauty Collaboration

The influencer is teaming with charitable cosmetics brand CrushXO for a liquid lipstick shade that benefits The Keep a Breast Foundation.

Gigi Gorgeous is paying homage to her late mother for her latest beauty collaboration.

The influencer — whose name is Giselle Loren Lazzarato — is teaming with CrushXO for a liquid lipstick shade she named after her mother Judy, who lost her battle with breast cancer when Gigi Gorgeous was 19 years old. Ten percent of proceeds from the product, priced at $18, will benefit The Keep a Breast Foundation, an organization that raises awareness and offers education around breast cancer.

Launched in September, CrushXO’s main mission is to combine beauty with philanthropy. The brand has enlisted three ambassadors, Gigi Gorgeous being one of them, to promote different female-centric charities. (The others include the Invisible Girl Project and Brave Summits.) Five percent of proceeds from the brand’s 16 stockkeeping units go back to these charities.

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Gigi Gorgeous has been an influential figure in the beauty industry for many years. Starting her YouTube channel in 2008, Gigi Gorgeous built her loyal fan base with makeup and hair tutorials and with videos documenting her transition after coming out as a transgender woman. With more than 2.7 million YouTube subscribers and 2.2 million Instagram followers, Gigi Gorgeous is an established influencer in the beauty community and has partnered with a number of brands, including Too Faced and Revlon, and is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. Here, she talks about how she’s honoring her mom with her new collaboration, raising awareness for breast cancer research and what beauty means to her.

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WWD: Why did you want to collaborate with CrushXO?  

Gigi Gorgeous: I always have been passionate about cancer, specifically breast cancer, because my mom passed away when I was 19, so the cause is a close thing to my heart. Besides working here and there with charities I hadn’t been full on with a charity benefiting breast cancer and raising awareness, so when my manager called me about this makeup brand and how they collaborate with charities and breast cancer was one of them, I tested all of the makeup and it’s really amazing products and I thought what better way to bring together charity and beauty?

WWD: Why is this partnership important to you?

G.G.: The beauty community is so saturated right now. There are so many products and things coming out every day and we have so much visual stimulation on Instagram and all the trends happening within the beauty community, so this is just taking it back and making a real change. I’ve already heard great stories about The Keep a Breast Foundation and their app and how it teaches you how to test yourself and showing step-by-step to do self-checks. Also, I feel like I personally hadn’t heard of a makeup brand that is so intensely involved with a charity and I felt passionate about this since the get-go.

WWD: How are you honoring your mom?

G.G.: I wanted to do something for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the brand already had five lipstick shades and told me I could create my own pink. During our first meeting for the shade we went over formulas and colors and it was overwhelming, but then all of a sudden someone said ‘Let’s name it after your mom.’ There are one or two lipsticks out [from other brands] called Judy, but not in this shade so that made it special to me. It might not be a shade that she would wear all the time because she wore nudes and reds, but it’s paying homage to her and everything she’s taught me and instills in me every day. It’s my gift to her and it also raises awareness, so that’s the cherry on top of everything.

WWD: Why is it important for you to use your platform to raise awareness for different causes?

G.G.: It’s at the top of my list. I’ve been sharing my story for so long and I thought it was something fun to communicate to my followers and get support from them, too. I’m learning from them the most, and for me, it’s all about the interactions I have with them and always keeping the conversation open and honest.

WWD: What role has beauty played in your life?

G.G.: It really didn’t start until I was a young teenager. I always watched my mom do makeup, like those classic stories of watching your mom apply red lipstick, but in my early teenage years I was like maybe I could try doing makeup and I went a little crazy and became obsessed and I think it escalated quickly for me. I was obsessed with aesthetics and how things looked, but when I dabbled in makeup artistry, I found my passion for makeup.

WWD: What is your beauty philosophy?

G.G.: As cheesy as it sounds, beauty comes from within and even that took me a long time to figure out. If I didn’t have my foundation on or have my favorite lipstick on or my skin wasn’t clear, I didn’t feel beautiful, but now I feel that I’m more grown up and I have core friends and I know that I can feel beautiful within my own skin. Maybe I don’t feel or look the best, but if I have that confidence from within, it will shine through and people see that as beautiful. You can be the most beautiful person in the world, but if that person is stuck up then I don’t want to be around you and you’re not gorgeous to me. That’s why I named myself Gigi Gorgeous. It wasn’t vain or narcissistic, but I liked the way it made me feel and the word puts a smile on my face. It embodies confidence and strength and that’s what I perceive as beautiful.