When Selena Gomez launched Rare Beauty back in 2020, the message was simple: break down previous notions that everyone must be perfect, and shine a light on mental health issues.
While this may have broken every budding makeup brand’s dream, brands like Fenty Beauty shared similar, groundbreaking mission statements: bolster inclusivity in the makeup industry and force all brands to do the same in the process.
Inspired by her 2020 album, Rare, Rare Beauty began with the basics: 48 foundation shades, lip balms and matte lip creams, eyebrow definers, and the icon, liquid blush. Four years later, it’s hard to imagine a more viral, innovative celebrity makeup brand that remains in stride with Fenty.
Quickly, the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush became TikTok’s go-to staple product. And no one can deny there is no blush on the market that is as pigmented, easily blendable, and long-lasting as this one. Selena Gomez has proven herself a bonafide content creator with her charismatic social media posts for fun Rare Beauty launches like an under-eye brightener, an SPF-laden tinted moisturizer, and lip combos.
Not only is Rare Beauty inclusive in shade range, but the spherical shape of the top of their products is disability-friendly.
As of 2024, Rare Beauty is a $2 billion company. But what sets this company apart is their attention to detail and true dedication to bettering the world. The same year that Rare Beauty was founded, the Rare Impact Fund was also created.
What Is The Rare Impact Fund?
In a statement by Gomez on the Rare Impact Fund’s website, she states,
“The Rare Impact Fund is committed to expanding access to mental health services and education for young people everywhere. We work with a strong network of supporters and experts to bring mental health resources into educational settings to reach young people.
Because no one– regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or background - should struggle alone.”
Upon their start, the Rare Impact Fund committed to raising $100 million by 2030. Along with corporate sponsorships and donations from individuals, 1% of proceeds from all Rare Beauty sales go towards the charity as well. By 2021, they had donated over $1.2 million in grants to eight mental health institutions including Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
In 2021, the Rare Impact Fund launched a GoFundMe for their new Mental Health 101 initiative. According to the GoFundMe,
“Mental Health 101 advocates for more mental health in education, empowers our community, and encourages financial support for more mental health services in educational settings through the Rare Impact Fund,”
Promising to match up to $200,000 in donations, to date the GoFundMe has raised over $500,000 and has donations from less than six months ago.
How The Rare Impact Fund Works
By leveraging both Selena Gomez’s millions of social media followers and the four million people who follow Rare Beauty on Instagram, the Rare Impact Fund quickly trickles into visibility. Suddenly, fans of the brand and Gomez alike can help make a difference by donating even a few dollars in honor of their favorite actress-singer extraordinaire.
As of 2023, the Rare Impact Fund helped grantees like UCLA Friends of Semel Institute, Batyr, La Familia, Mindful Life Project, Black Teacher Project, and Trans Lifeline. According to the website, they have raised $6 million in contributions and distributed $3 million in grant support so far.
Rare Beauty and the Rare Impact Fund alone are blazing a trail for all brands: you can make a change while still distributing high-quality products — and it pays off.
Ortega's found it difficult to live up to his revolutionary ideals now that he's in charge.
Following years of occupation under Napoleon's armies during the Peninsular War, the Spanish Empire was severely crippled. In the decades that followed, many of Spain's colonies, emboldened by their years of self-governance during the Napoleonic wars, began splitting off and declaring independence. For Spain, the 19th century was marked by a decline in influence in the geopolitical sphere and the end of their status as a colonial power. The culmination of this decline was the Spanish-American war, in which Spain lost Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States. More importantly however, the end of the 19th century transformed the Western Hemisphere. The United States, not Spain, was now the leader on this side of the Atlantic, and while the U.S. didn't outright conquer the Central American nations (all of which were Spanish possessions until the mid 19th century) U.S. presence in the region was definitely felt.
Almost immediately following the Spanish American war, the United States found itself embroiled in conflicts all over Central America and the Caribbean, in what was later dubbed the Banana Wars. Perhaps more so than any other country, Nicaragua faced the full force of American intervention, being occupied virtually uninterrupted from 1898 to 1934, when the Great Depression forced the U.S. to pull its troops. This period of occupation saw U.S. soldiers clashing with the rebel forces of Augusto C. Sandino, also known as the Sandinistas. Following the withdrawal of the U.S. marines, Sandino was assassinated by Anastasio Somoza García, and the Somoza dynasty, a dictatorial regime that would rule Nicaragua until 1979, was born.
Like most dictatorships, the Somoza regime was rife with corruption and ultimately unsustainable. Starting in the early 1960s, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, named after Sandino's 1930s Sandinistas began openly opposing the Somozas. As these new Sandinistas began fighting a guerrilla war against the American-backed Somoza government, Daniel Ortega and his brother Humberto worked to consolidate the various anti-Somoza factions. Ultimately the revolution was successful, and the socialist Sandinistas took power in 1979.
Many businesses left Nicaragua for greener pastures, sensing that their profit margins were about to shrink. In response to their declining influence in the region, the U.S. government backed a conservative guerrilla group known as the Contras, who waged open war on the Sandinista government, murdering civilians and committing terrorist attacks throughout the country. The conflict reached a climax during the elections of 1990, when the U.S. government donated millions to Daniel Ortega's political opponent Violeta Chamorro. This was the first free election since the Sandinistas gained power, but ironically it was plagued by foreign intervention and assassinations. Violeta Chamorro went on to win the presidency, ending the Sandinista regime. Many political commentators speculate that the Sandinistas failed because Nicaragua's civilian population feared the Contra War wouldn't end until the Sandinistas were ousted from power.
Still, many of the socialist reforms put in place during the 80s were already in effect, and despite the gripes of wealthy industrialists, many people in Nicaragua were happier with their new lives. Some formerly wealthy people, like Luis Montoya Carrion, had even embraced the socialist cause. Before the revolution in 1979, Carrion had servants and chauffeurs. After, he began to "accept the fact [he] has to put [his] own case of Coke in the car." Carrion states that while there are still rich people and large businesses in Nicaragua, "the freedom to do whatever you want to your workers" is thankfully gone. Before the election in 1990, the culture of Nicaragua was shifting towards egalitarianism.
In recent years however, it's been a different story. The idealism of the Sandinistas has been all but drained from Nicaraguan society. When running in the 2006 presidential election, Daniel Ortega partnered with former Contra leader Jaime Morales Carazo in a move which Ortega claimed was designed to heal the divide. He also, in a complete reversal of his staunch leftist views, sought foreign investment to spur economic growth. Ortega is now in his third consecutive term as president after amending the constitution to eliminate term limits. Back in April of this year, Ortega's government violently suppressed student protestors using rubber bullets and in the months of unrest that have followed, hundreds of people have been killed. For many Nicaraguans, there's a cognitive dissonance attached to Daniel Ortega; a communist revolutionary repressing youth demonstrations now that he's the president. There is still a large portion of the population that sees Ortega as a hero and a patriot, but others believe him to be corrupt and that his government is exactly like that of the Somozas.
He's also drawn ire from many of Nicaragua's progressives for his very public turn to Catholicism. Instead of featuring the black and red Sandinista flags and overtly marxist taglines, Ortega's 2006 campaign feature pink posters that spoke about "Christianity, Socialism, and solidarity." He also, to the chagrin of liberal and leftist voters, refused to overturn the complete ban on abortion, a law that's still in place. It's extremely tempting to speculate what's caused Ortega to do a complete 180˚. Some believe his wife, who is also the Vice President of Nicaragua, has pushed him towards religion and the far right. Others look at Ortega's $50 million net worth and his newfound penchant for business and believe he's a man who has been thoroughly corrupted by money. There are even some reports that his campaign was financed via the drug trade and that his ties to criminal activity prove him incapable of being the leader Nicaragua needs as the 2nd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Perhaps it's a combination of the three, or something else entirely.What's clear, is that Daniel Ortega no longer represents the revolutionary Sandinistas– the ones who simultaneously inspired the poor to rise up and fight for their rights and rich men like Luis Montoya Carrion to embrace civic responsibility. As the civil unrest grows, Ortega points fingers at American interventionism in the press and flat out denies any responsibilities for his government's recent crimes, blaming a "satanic sect" for the protests. The recent uprisings have seemingly confirmed people's worst fears about Ortega, and leave many wondering about Nicaragua's immediate future. It seems as though it's hard to stay true to the ideals of a revolution after you've won it. That said, Ortega isn't the first to change his political stance after seizing power and more likely than not, he won't be the last.