“It’s very intimidating and very inspiring — I’m only 3 years old,” demurred Selena Gomez at the 2023 Beauty Inc Awards on Thursday, of how it felt to be among her fellow award winners at the Rainbow Room in New York City’s Rockefeller Center.
Though the actress, singer and Pete Born Impact Award winner’s color cosmetics brand Rare Beauty may indeed only be three years old, its reach far transcends its age; to date, the brand has raised $12 million of the $100 million it has committed to mental health causes through its Rare Impact Fund, and by the end of 2023, Rare will cross the $300 million sales threshold.
In a fireside chat with Jenny B. Fine, WWD and Beauty Inc’s executive editor, beauty, Gomez said she feels “humbled by the success” of Rare — a success that, for her, goes beyond creating quality products.
“The most important thing from the beginning of creating this brand was to have a positive impact in the beauty space — to create a brand that would just allow you to embrace who you are, and not necessarily lead people to look a certain way in order to reach ‘perfection,’” said Gomez, who has been transparent about her own mental health journey, including her experiences with Lupus, depression and bipolar disorder. “Creating the mental health impact fund through Rare — that, to me, is body, mind and soul.”
The brand’s focus on authenticity has played a key role in propelling standout online success, with Rare quickly becoming social media’s top-ranked beauty brand in the U.S.; simultaneously, Gomez herself reigns as the most followed person on Instagram, with 429 million followers.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to slowly build Rare; it truly feels like this is just the beginning,” said the multihyphenate. “The things we have lined up are special, and we’ve just been doing a great job of trying to keep everything new and fresh and exciting to use, and most importantly — easy and accessible for everyone.”
In total, 28 awards were distributed at the ceremony, which commemorated the year’s most innovative launches, meaningful initiatives and brightest changemakers. “We’re back baby,” exclaimed Jerrod Blandino as he and Too Faced cofounder Jeremy Johnson accepted the Newcomer of the Year Award for their latest venture, color cosmetics brand Polite Society.
Brand Builder of the Year, meanwhile, went to Milani chief executive officer Mary van Praag for her successful turnaround of the brand, which saw a 30 percent increase in sales this year alone and is now the only indie in the top 10 in color at mass. August CEO and cofounder Nadya Okamoto received the Purposeful Initiative of the Year award for her efforts to combat the taxing of feminine care products through her Tampon Tax Back Coalition (fittingly, she donned a clear, tampon-filled purse to accept the honor), while social media sensation Patrick Ta was named creative force of the year.
Top share spot holder in mass-market hair care P&G Beauty accepted the award for Category Builder of the Year for hair care; the Estée Lauder Companies’ historic acquisition of Tom Ford earned the Transformational Deal of the Year award.
Here, the complete list of 2023 Beauty Inc award winners.
The Pete Born Impact Award: Selena Gomez, founder, Rare Beauty
Brand of the Year, Mass: Naturium
Brand of the Year, Prestige: Sol de Janeiro
Brand of the Year, Wellness: Love Wellness
Retailer of the Year/Company: Amazon
Retailer of the Year/Person: Creighton Kiper, vice rresident, merchandising, beauty, Walmart Inc.
Influencer of the Year: Monet McMichael
Creative Force: Patrick Ta
Launch of the Year, Prestige: Prada Beauty
Launch of the Year, Mass: Fine’ry
Transformational Deal of the Year: The Estée Lauder Cos. acquisition of Tom Ford
Breakthrough Brand of the Year: RMS Beauty
Newcomer of the Year: Polite Society
Buzzy Collab: Lancôme x Louvre
Category Builder of the Year, Hair: P&G Beauty
Category Builder of the Year, Skin: Glow Recipe
Category Builder of the Year, Makeup: Charlotte Tilbury
Category Builder of the Year, Fragrance: Dior
Brand Builder of the Year: Mary van Praag, chief executive officer, Milani Cosmetics
Newsmaker of the Year: E.l.f. Beauty
Product of the Year, Hair Care: Dyson Airstrait
Product of the Year, Makeup: Danessa Myricks Beauty Groundwork Defining Neutrals Palette
Product of the Year, Skin Care: Westman Atelier Skin Activator Serum
Product of the Year, Fragrance: Burberry Goddess
Product of the Year, Wellness: Liquid I.V. Sugar-Free Hydration Multiplier
Purposeful Initiative of the Year: The Tampon Tax Back Coalition
Sustainability in Beauty: Future Society by Arcaea
The CSR Award: Beekman 1802 Kindness Initiative