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EXCLUSIVE: Drew Elliott Named Global Creative Director of MAC Cosmetics

Elliott will leave his post as editor in chief of Paper Magazine to join the cosmetics brand.

Drew Elliott is leaving publishing for the beauty industry.

MAC Cosmetics today revealed that Elliott is its new senior vice president and global creative director. In the role, Elliott will report to Philippe Pinatel, MAC’s senior vice president and general manager, as well as John Demsey, executive group president, The Estée Lauder Companies.

In an interview with WWD, Demsey called MAC’s appointment of Elliott “a seismic moment for the brand and the culture and the new world order.”

“Over the years, I’ve seen [Elliott] grow from a young New York fringe cultural pop icon to the driver of the nerve center of the digital age, what is the culture,” said Demsey. “I’ve been super impressed by his ability to harness the power of digital and social media and to translate that into community and branding. He is an authentic creative director born out of a culture that the brand was born from, and I know and believe to be the creative visionary to harness the power of the way that people communicate and share now.”

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Elliott is currently the editor in chief of Paper Magazine. He has been credited with increasing the publication’s credibility and traffic, and was behind the infamous winter 2014 #BreakTheInternet issue, featuring a half-naked Kim Kardashian West. Shot by Jean-Paul Goude, that issue drove at least 5 million unique visitors to Paper’s web site within the first 30 hours of it being online.

“We’ve literally broken the Internet,” Elliott told WWD at the time. “We knew it would be large, but in no way did we think it would be that large.”

He was also a cast member on the VH1 reboot of “America’s Next Top Model,” which he joined in 2016 as a judge and creative consultant.

Elliott succeeds Toni Lakis, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities, according to a representative for Lauder. Lakis had assumed the role from James Gager, who in 2017 stepped down as MAC’s creative director after 18 years.

Elliott will leave his position at Paper Magazine and will begin his new role at MAC on Oct. 28. At MAC, he will lead all strategy, conceptualization and execution of the brand’s creative process.

“[Elliott] will become the storyteller and chief of the brand,” said Demsey. “I believe that he is uniquely talented and qualified unlike anybody else. Years ago, he was this young kid who was always with the band. It’s amazing to see the power and the force of him and if you look at a lot of defining moments in the culture in the last four or five years, he’s been at the center of it. It’s been super interesting and exciting for the brand, exciting for The Estée Lauder Companies and a powerful signal for creative talent and a new way of thinking about it.”

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