Adwoa Aboah

LONDON — Rimmel London has named Adwoa Aboah, the model and founder of a non-profit promoting the health and well-being of adolescent girls and young women, to the newly created role of global activist.

An announcement is expected on Thursday.

Over the years Rimmel London, one of the oldest brands in Coty’s portfolio, has tapped a series of top models as ambassadors, including Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Georgia May Jagger and Rita Ora, each of whom has reflected the mood and trends of a particular moment.

Aboah is as well known for her social activism and mental health advocacy as she is for modeling, and her new role at Rimmel is reflective of Coty’s overarching priorities in ESG, or environmental, social and corporate governance.

Her site, Gurls Talk, offers resources and “a safe space for young women and gurls” to discuss issues surrounding mental and physical health, sexuality and well-being. The community-led, non-profit platform features live events and a podcast series that takes on topics such as sex and love, addiction, grief and how to live with loss. It counts 303.8K followers on Instagram.

Aboah is a popular figure in Britain: She won Model of the Year at the Fashion Awards in London in 2017 and was on the cover of Edward Enninful’s first issue of British Vogue. She’s even created a Barbie doll in her image, dressed in a leopard-print skirt and a Gurls Talk T-shirt.

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“Rimmel has always been absolutely focused on celebrating the individual. We were looking for a very strong voice and we thought Adwoa was a perfect match,” said Alexis Vaganay, chief commercial officer of Coty’s Consumer Beauty division, in an interview. “Harnessing the power of Rimmel and Adwoa to support the cause of well-being in young women and to celebrate their self-expression was a natural move.”

Vaganay added that Aboah is “much more than just a face. Her appointment is much more about being a role model, a proactive voice supporting young women to liberate their self-expression. Living out your own identity is the hallmark of true freedom.”

Aboah will be the face of major beauty campaigns and product launches throughout 2021 and beyond, according to Rimmel.

“I foresee a longstanding relationship between Rimmel and Adwoa — that’s at least what we intend. She will be front and center in the upcoming initiatives that we have on mega-trends such as clean beauty, and the ‘skin-ification’ of beauty,” he said, referring to the rise of cosmetic/skin care hybrid products.

“Rimmel is a global brand and we believe she will have an amazing impact across all of our global markets.”

Aboah, who was born and raised in London, said she’s excited to take on the new role at Rimmel, “a brand that celebrates authenticity and individuality. Being true to yourself isn’t always easy, but it is key to well-being. As someone who is committed to encouraging young women to be true to themselves, I’m proud to partner with a brand that shares that ambition.”

Stefano Curti, chief brands officer, Coty Consumer Beauty, said that Aboah “never apologizes for being herself. That perfectly encapsulates Rimmel London’s mission to prioritize diversity and inclusion and to empower the people who buy our products to be the best and truest version of themselves.”

He said that Coty will work with the model and activist “to create a more inclusive, more open and better beauty industry — for all.”

Asked during the interview about Coty’s ambitions in ESG, Vaganay said it was “central to everything we do,” adding that each of the Coty brands is focused on having a “distinctive purpose.”

Aboah’s hire comes just two weeks after Coty’s Cover Girl brand rekindled its partnership with model Niki Taylor, who had served as one of the brand’s “Cover Girls” three decades ago. She is the new face of Simply Ageless, the brand’s antiaging makeup and skin care range.

Changes are in full flow as industry veteran Sue Nabi puts her management stamp on Coty. Nabi was named chief executive officer of Coty last July — and is the ninth person to fill that role in 10 years.

Looking ahead, Vaganay said Coty is planning to update on Max Factor soon, and wants to develop Adidas into a “self-care global powerhouse.”

He said the group is also serious about bolstering brands such as Cover Girl and Sally Hansen, and keeping the focus on clean and vegan formulations, and multitasking products.

He said that the pandemic “put a magnifying lens” on existing trends, and forced Coty to accelerate many of the changes and developments it had already planned to make.