When boys disrupt gender stereotypes and celebrate genderless beauty

In Ancient Egypt, men wore makeup as a sign of wealth and to imitate the Gods they worshipped. Thick black eyeliner and brightly coloured eyeshadow were believed to have magical healing powers, and did not discriminate between genders. Fast forward a few thousand years, and the stigma around men wearing makeup really should be ancient history.

2019 has seen a promising progression for gender diversity in the makeup industry, with British-born makeup brand W7 Cosmetics shining brightly with their cutting-edge campaign and glamorous celebration of their products, disrupting gender stereotypes and encouraging anyone with a passion for beauty to join the discussion. W7 Cosmetics are following in the footsteps of the Pharos, and helping to break down the barriers to celebrate genderless beauty with a cutting-edge campaign entitled Here Come The Boys, helping to re-define the beauty industry as one that’s inclusive of all, bringing men wearing makeup into the mainstream.

Led by W7 brand ambassador and beauty influencer Reuben de Maid, 10 of the UK’s leading male influencers and makeup artists who use their platforms to break down societal gender norms, took to the funfair where they live their most fabulous lives to showcase a variety of glamorous W7 looks, using makeup exclusively from their extensive collection. Danny De Freitas, Salih’s World, Toby Salvieto, Jamie Kyle, Harley Jeal, Whatstheteakeekee, Dontmesswithdenise, Marc Zapanta and Way of Yaw all joined Reuben for the stunning fairground shoot at Luna Park in Scarborough.

YASS Magazine met Reuben de Maid and Danny Defreitas and we learned all you were craving for!


Hello Reuben de Maid! How do you feel as one of the most famous beauty influencers at such a young age?

It’s crazy to be doing what I love on a professional level at such a young age. I’m working with incredible brands and I never dreamed this would have been possible as an adult let alone now! In terms of being the most famous – I’m really not sure that I am, I don’t see it like that anyway. I always say fame should be a by-product of talent, not the other way round and I’ve still got lots and lots to learn.

Who are your biggest inspirations and role models?

I would definitely say as all-rounders the Kardashians have got to be up there, particularly Kris – she’s a media machine! Also having met Kim, not only is she hugely successful in her many fields but she’s also incredibly kind and humble, which was so lovely and refreshing as she is one of my all-time heroes.

I also truly admire Caitlyn Jenner, mostly for her ‘don’t give a damn what anyone thinks’ attitude, particularly in terms of her transition to becoming who she really wanted to be. I met her recently in LA and she was really lovely and inspiring. In the beauty world it’s got to be fellow male influencers like Patrick Starr and Mmmitchel. They were inspirations to me when I was starting out and helped me to realise that it’s ok and actually pretty cool to be different and not to be afraid to bend stereotypes.

How was the experience of receiving a standing ovation at Ellen’s show?

The Ellen show was amazing and gave me a huge boost in terms of my platform in the industry. Traveling to Los Angeles, staying in beautiful houses and meeting some incredible people was amazing on its own, so being a guest on the show was a truly unforgettable experience and one I’ll always be very grateful for.

How easy or difficult is to be an influencer in the beauty industry?

There’s naturally a lot of competition and content can be very similar in its blueprint, so you always have to try and be slightly different with what you’re putting out there. I think being a young teenager set me apart from a lot of my peers in the first place, but also as a boy who does make-up, you have to shine apart from all the female influencers as well as the other boys out there doing it. It’s amazing to see that the appetite for male beauty influencers and opportunities are growing so much, and W7 have really helped with that in the UK.

How would you define yourself?

I get this question a lot. I think people feel they need to put a label on someone who in their opinion doesn’t fit with the social norm in order to understand them. Just being a boy who likes to wear makeup doesn’t really fit into a typical box. I’m not trans, I’m not a drag queen, I don’t struggle with my gender identity, I’m just really creative and I love expressing that through makeup – and that’s all it is really!

How “Here Come the Boys” aims to help re-define the beauty industry?

We’ve actually seen men in makeup for a long time – from the Egyptians to drag artists! There just hasn’t really been a huge commercial platform for it other than on YouTube, so it’s great to see people starting to embrace it, and the male beauty movement translating into brand connections. There are so many more commercial opportunities these days, and if you’re really talented and put yourself out there in the right way, you can make a career out of it.

W7 have been instrumental from the first time I met them, about wanting to be as inclusive as possible about who we would work with on projects like Here Come The Boys. All races, sexualities, backgrounds – I’ve always felt that they truly believe in what we are doing, and this campaign is a testament to that. I’m so proud to be a part of it, and I hope it can inspire others to not hide their talent or passions.

How was the experience In being a part of “Here Come the Boys”?

When I first linked up with W7 it was clear that they wanted to do something different and fun. They were very open about the fact that it was new territory for them, so welcomed my ideas and suggestions on how to make this as impactful as possible. They really handed the reigns over to us all on the lead up to the shoot, and on the day worked with us so that we felt comfortable and true to ourselves. We chose our own makeup looks, our own wardrobes and W7 told us “you’re all different in your own ways, we don’t want to mould you to our specifications, we’ll mould this campaign to you”. We couldn’t have asked for more to be honest!

What does make-up mean to you?

For me, makeup allows for creativity in a space that’s less conventional than traditional art. It gives you the opportunity to decide who you want to be that day and express yourself. Funnily enough, that W7’s tag line too..!

How important is genderless beauty and how should it be celebrated?

I think the biggest celebration for me would actually be when it’s not ‘celebrated’, it’s just the norm. Where no one differentiates when they see a girl or a boy on a poster, on social media, or walking down the street wearing makeup and feeling fabulous.

What are your future plans?

It’s been a crazy few years.. If I’d have been asked this question 3 years ago, I could have never predicted what was to come. I’m currently filming my own fly on the wall reality series with Discovery called ‘Being Reuben’ which will be coming out towards the end of the year and I am SO excited for everyone to see it. Aside from that, I will be carrying on with all things beauty and continuing to work with amazing brands like W7 on projects I’m passionate about – like this one!

For more tips and tricks be sure to find Reuben de Maid on Instagram @reubendemaid and check out their YouTube channel Reuben De Maid. 

Hello Danny. Who are your biggest inspirations and role models?

Growing up, I didn’t really have any public figures who I could relate to. The only male models wearing makeup were drag artists or theatrical extremes. Things are definitely changing with movements to include diversity and individuality. It’s so great to see that social media has brought inclusivity, acceptance and awareness to the fore front. It’s also helping to build diverse communities and giving people the role models I never had. 

Where does your name come from?

My name originates from Portugal, both my parents are from the Azores – tiny little islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It took me ages to try and spell it correctly growing up but I got there in the end! 

How easy or difficult is to be an influencer in the beauty industry?

There are definitely pros and cons to every job, but I can honestly say I feel so blessed to do something I’m passionate about and I work very hard to make sure I’m always growing both personally as well as professionally.  

How would you describe yourself?

Passionate, Creative and Sassy (sometimes!) 

How “Here Come the Boys” aims to help re-define the beauty industry?

I was truly honoured to be part of this amazing campaign. We will always be pushing boundaries with things like this, even just by having male models in beauty campaigns and shoots, so it’s great to see that W7 is helping spread awareness of this movement, and I can’t wait to see what they will do next! 

What did you enjoy the most from the “Here Come the Boys” campaign and the W7 Cosmetics?

I absolutely loved the concept and have a lot of admiration for the brand for taking a risk to do something outside the box. It’s exciting to think that this could expand further and further support the message that makeup is truly genderless. 

What does make-up mean to you?

Makeup for me is about having fun and feeling confident. I love the transformative element to makeup and the way you can think of a concept and turn it into a reality.  

How important is genderless beauty and how should it be celebrated?

I hope it’s a theme that is here to stay moving forward. I think there are still many brands that need to jump onto this movement and perhaps review their marketing strategies to be more inclusive and diverse. 

What are your future plans?

There are some exciting projects in the pipeline and I would say that I always try to be both present and future focussed. It’s also important for me to take a moment and enjoy the here and now! I definitely need to learn to reflect more on some of the accomplishments I’ve had and celebrate them! 

For more tips and tricks be sure to find me on my Instagram @dannydefreitas and check out my YouTube channel Danny Defreitas. 

Here are some more exclusive images images of the campaign:

*all images are courtesy of W7 Cosmetics

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