Author and transgender activist Janet Mock has been named a contributing editor at Allure, where she will have a biweekly column about beauty as it relates to gender and identity.
“With my column Beauty Beyond Binaries, I hope to expand the either/ors that aim to constrict and contain us: masculine and feminine, black and white, curly and straight, fat and skinny, dark and fair. It’s about blurring the lines, getting into the grays and challenging our preconceived notions, categories and label,” Mock said. “Oh, and we’ll also talk all things glam like hair, makeup, skin and nails without leaving our feminisms behind.”
Mock, a former editor of People.com and the author of two books — the 2014 bestseller “Redefining Realness” and the forthcoming “Surpassing Certainty,” which will be published on June 13 — rose to national prominence as a transgender activist after telling her story to Marie Claire in 2011. In 2014, she became a contributing editor to Marie Claire, where, until recently, she regularly wrote about gender and political issues around identity.
Mock’s addition to the Allure masthead comes after a recent organizational shift that put the magazine’s digital presence under the purview of Teen Vogue’s digital editorial director Phillip Picardi, who has gotten a good deal of credit for its viral political content following the presidential election. Mock’s column will be edited by Allure’s deputy digital editor Sam Escobar, who identifies as non-binary when it comes to gender and uses gender-neutral pronouns.
“For Allure, I really want to make sure everyone feels invited to the pantheon of beauty,” Picardi said. “The industry has made huge strides in being more inclusive, but we do want to be more thoughtful about what that inclusivity looks like.”
According to Picardi, it goes deeper than the cosmetic — they are often a key part of the way that people explore and experience identity and gender.
“I’m excited to carve out a space in the beauty industry that intentionally centers the voices, experiences, textures, hues, sizes and identities of those who are rarely centered and seen, who rarely have access to mirrors that reflect them, and are rarely affirmed in their uniqueness and otherness as beautiful,” Mock said.
Mock may be able to provide a unique social and political perspective, but as Picardi pointed out, she also has some solid hair and makeup skills. “She’s such a beauty girl,” he said. “Look at her Instagram. Janet really knows her stuff.”