Xayla Wilson, co-founder and president of UGA’s new organization, GLAM Dawgs, poses for a portrait in New York City. (Photo by Kayla Foy)
By: Kalah Mingo
Rihanna’s recent launch of her new makeup line, Fenty Beauty, has flown off of Sephora shelves everywhere. With a message of diversity and inclusivity, Fenty Beauty focuses on catering to a wide range of skin tones. Xayla Wilson, a makeup enthusiast, was excited to hear about the release of products for such a large range of diverse skin tones. As a woman of color with a deeper skin tone, she is oftentimes overlooked by cosmetic brands. WIlson became interested in makeup as a teenager, and when she came to the University of Georgia she realized there wasn’t a space for a beauty community. That was something she wanted to change, which led her to start GLAM Dawgs, an on-campus organization created to encourage an affinity for makeup and to empower younger women and men on campus to embrace their inner and outer beauty.
School Year: Junior
Major: Finance and Management Information Systems
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
When did your interest in makeup begin?
I started experimenting with makeup in probably the 8th grade, 9th grade time frame. I remember I first started using this cheap eyebrow pencil from Family Dollar. . .I worked my way to foundation which was a hot mess, but at the time I didn’t know. There was literally no foundation shade for me at the store. I was using the wrong color, but I was making it work.
How did you realize the need for a makeup community at UGA?
I wanted to put my passion in an organization. . .I noticed the need because there are so many people on campus who do makeup but they do it in isolation. Makeup is one of those things that can unify people. We might not wear the same foundation shade, but we wear the same foundation; we can wear the same eyeliner and it just gives people the opportunity to connect with people that they usually wouldn’t talk to.
What was the process of creating GLAM Dawgs like?
It took a lot of hours, but it all came about with a lot of hard work, a lot of paperwork and just a lot of other people being passionate and making sure I stay on what I’m supposed to be doing and me making sure they stay on what they’re supposed to be doing.
What’s the mission of GLAM Dawgs?
The main purpose is to utilize makeup to empower people. We do that in a variety of ways, whether it’s with programs, the GroupMe, our social interactions or the content we plan on producing. We want to make sure we are teaching people about makeup products, makeup techniques and makeup tools. So, the mission is to do all of that and provide a safe environment for every single person to come and experiment with makeup, however they choose to do so.
As a woman of color, do you feel that people of color are adequately represented in the beauty industry?
No, I don’t. I could probably go in Walmart right now and find a foundation, but if I went maybe two months ago, they definitely wouldn’t have had a foundation shade for me. I think it’s working towards progress and it’s working towards becoming more inclusive and more representative of people of color, but I think there’s a long way to go. It’s fair to recognize the progress, but still I recognize that there’s a lot more to do as well.
How do you believe cosmetic brands can do better?
I think actually listening to people, whether it’s focus groups or social media. Social media is a free way to understand how people like products and what they need. It’s just listening to people and hearing them out.
Rihanna recently launched her new line of makeup, Fenty Beauty, that she hopes will fill the industry void for products that perform across all skin types and tones that includes 40 different foundation shades “so that women everywhere would be included.” Should other cosmetic brands follow her inclusive example?
Yes, of course. With the launch though, I was expecting a little more foundation shades. I didn’t try them all out, but I’m usually the darkest shade or one up from the darkest. I went to Sephora and bought a shade. I was disappointed by the undertones, but since she says she’s launching 80 total shades in the collection I’m going to hold out, but I do think that she made a huge statement by including 40 in her first launch. . .the spectrum she did was huge and I think other brands should model their mission after her…props to her for doing it. It offered a brand that stands for something.
What are you buying from the collection?
Girl, I spent too much money. . .I bought way too much.