Name: Lana Ogilvie
Agency: AnitaNorris Models/ Heffner Mgmnt/Abrams Artists/ModelCoOp
Claim to Fame: The Canadian supermodel was the very first Black model to receive a COVER GIRL contract shattering a longstanding glass ceiling for Black models seeking work with commercial brands internationally. She has also appeared in Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, Marie Claire and Sports Illustrated.
When any non-white model books a huge contract, panels are convened and headlines are printed. Everyone is delighted and (sadly) a little shocked that a giant corporation has decided to officially embrace someone who doesn’t fit the typical mold. But after all the meetings and memos that precede the press releases, the astonishment of the media is rarely shared by the model herself. “COVER GIRL was not a surprise for me,” said Ogilvie.
“When COVERGIRL wanted to book me, my agent at the time, Michael Flutie from Company Management had the idea which he proposed to them, to put me under contract. To make it a bigger thing for not just me, but also for COVER GIRL and the industry in general.”
Flutie’s suggestion came at the right time for an industry ready to inch forward towards a larger definition of what it meant to be beautiful. “They liked the idea obviously. And it really started that change within the beauty industry of signing different ethnicities to multiple year contacts, and forcing these huge companies to realize the buying power of ethnic consumers.”
The moment and the subsequent media firestorm following the announcement were strong professional achievements for Ogilvie but they were still the result of someone else’s choices. “As a model, there is virtually nothing I can do to book or not book a job,” she explained.
“Either the client wants my look or not, no matter how much work I put into exercise, having beautiful images, taking on camera classes or anything. I have no control over whether I get a job or not, which is very stressful.”
The serial entrepreneur decided to trade in the stress of waiting to be chosen for the fulfillment of doing the choosing. She returned to Canada to work with a laboratory and chemist on creating her own skincare line. It would have been easy to allow a company to slap her million dollar face on something but Ogilvie wasn’t interested in taking the easy way out.
She spent countless hours with her collaborators, pelting them with question after question about ingredients. “I love natural and organic elements in skincare and they are really as effective as synthetic elements. I have been using natural products since I was a teenager.”
She ultimately settled on three products to launch with. “The peptide combination in the Rewind Facial Serum and the Retouch Eye Cream provide powerful anti-wrinkle fighting properties. My line is specifically for mature skin.I love all of the products the same. They are my babies! But I love serums in particular and the Renew Serum is very light and not sticky like many serums. It penetrates the skin very quickly. I apply it morning and night after washing, all over my face, but not the eye area. Sometimes I use a chilled facial roller to apply it.”
She also invested in formal training so that she could empower herself through education. “I believe in having a knowledge base within what I am doing, being authentic within that space. I am finishing a course in organic skincare formulation, so I can speak with the chemist from a knowledge base and be able to talk to clients coming from an educated place,” she declared.
She has been just as intentional about promoting her products as developing them. She is hosting a sold out event called “Every Shade of Beauty’ in partnership with The Salon Project beside other multicultural brands at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship location. It is the prestigious department store’s first exclusively multicultural event. Her modeling days have provided her with access to some of the biggest international PR companies in the world but she chose to work with Face Flawless Skin founders Felicia Walker and Christine Carr to spread the word about the product.
Her commitment to hard work limited her time for self-care. “My top asset is that I work my ass off. It’s also my worst asset because I will work myself into the ground. I forget to take a break from my own projects.”
One self-care step she never skips is her own skin care. “My face is my moneymaker and if my skin doesn’t look good I’m out of a job. When I started, retouching was done by hand on the photograph. On the actual print! There were no apps or digital retouching, so skin had to look good in real life.”
After spending years backstage in the tragic nineties she’s learned a few things on her own before the chemistry lessons. “In the 90s, before the micellar water and makeup wipes, a lot of models swore by using baby oil to remove eye makeup. I tried it once. It was so greasy and made me break out. Really a bad moment in skincare.”
Her experiences backstage, “definitely inspired me to create a line.”
Those experiences are able to continue, thanks to the ripple effect from the changes in the industry Ogilvie and her contemporaries set the standard for. “The industry is more inclusive especially age wise. Which is great for me. When I started there was no market for women over 40. At 26 you were on the way out. So it’s wonderful to see that.”
She is even happy about the changes in the “plus-size market,” and the messages they send to women outside of the industry.
“What I am also happy about are the guidelines now in place for healthy models. In the 90s models were too skinny and a really unhealthy body image was held in high regard. That was a low point, I think ,for beauty standards that the fashion industry imposed on women.”
She has hopes that stronger changes will come where they will, “Just not have any adjective in front of the word woman.”
“I would love to see beauty and fashion get to the point of thinking,’ We are going to book a beautiful woman for this job’, and not ‘We are going to book a beautiful Asian woman, or Black woman, or older woman’, etc.’ I’d love to see it just be a ‘woman’ – without the thought of anything else.”
Unless it’s that woman’s glowing skin.