Modelpreneur Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Beautycon Media chief executive officer Moj Mahdara have their sights set on creating their own beauty competition-style TV show. “We’re working on it,” said Mahdara on Thursday night in Los Angeles, where she and Huntington-Whiteley hosted an influencer-packed dinner to celebrate the winner of their “Next Beauty Star” social media contest.
“We were introduced through a mutual friend, actually our facialist Shani Darden, and I felt like I’d known Moj for 100 years,” explained Huntington-Whiteley, who in May launched her Rose Inc. lifestyle platform which highlights new products and personalities in the beauty space. “We talked about how we could bring the brands together and feeling like we wanted to create a mentorship program to find the next rising star in the industry.”
They set five weekly challenges for their followers (create a blue smoky eye, glowing makeup, a sun-kissed look using pastel products), reviewed submissions sent via social media channels, and picked the winner, Cameron Day, who they will be sending to beauty school in L.A. “We loved Cameron and she had a really great story, coming to beauty later in life and moving to L.A. from Detroit to start her career. Hopefully she’ll be doing my makeup soon,” said Huntington-Whiteley, who lives in L.A. with fiancé Jason Statham.
With a dinner table full of influencers gathered from near (L.A.-based actress/singer Kelly Rowland, actress/Mint Swim entrepreneur Draya Howard) and far (Dallas-based Nyma Tang) to celebrate at the highly Instagrammable Beautycon POP space near the Beverly Center, Mahdara was cautiously optimistic when asked about L.A. as the new center of beauty. “There is a lot of innovation because there is a lot of talent here that’s needed for creative and Hollywood. But for entrepreneurship…I don’t know that this town yet understands how to build a successful commerce/product/media brand,” she said. “Snapchat was our big potential success and you saw what happened. It’s challenging to shift from a content to a commerce model,” she said referring to the tech company’s falling stock.
She and Huntington-Whiteley stay energized by seeing the number of new beauty brands being launched every day, in L.A. and elsewhere.
“What I get excited about is when a brand has a storytelling component about it, it fills a hole in the market and shakes things up. We’ve seen that with the Kylie Jenner and Glossier models,” said Huntington-Whiteley. “It’s not enough for me to pick up a product and like the formulation and think the packaging is cute. I have to want to be a part of the world. It’s not just the look, it’s how does it make you feel.”
“That’s how we chose the 22 female-founded brands for our pop-up store,” Mahdara added of the Beautycon POP experience of photo-ready rooms and a retail store, which will be heading out on the road to other cities following its L.A. run ending Jan. 31. “They are all really interesting women, two worked as bankers at Goldman Sachs and left to found their own beauty brand in Harlem, and the founders of the Lip Bar who created vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics in Detroit. It’s important we do a good job of shining a light on that. There are a million brands launching every day and it’s really on everyone to think of unique ways to tell their story.” Adds Huntington-Whiteley in a made-for-TV tagline: “No pressure.”