DUBAI: Pop superstar and make-up mogul Rihanna took to the stage in Dubai on Saturday to hold her first-ever Fenty Beauty Artistry and Beauty Talk in front of a packed-out audience at the Armani Hotel.
The Barbados-born celebrity taught fans how to “Shine Bright Like A Diamond” with a clutch of useful make-up tricks demonstrated by a pair of handpicked make-up artists — Priscilla Ono and Hector Espinal.
The event, the location of which was only unveiled two days prior due to security reasons, was co-sponsored by Sephora. Proceeds from the charity event will go to Dubai Cares, an organization that works with UN aid agencies and international NGOs in an effort to improve children’s access to education in developing countries.
A more-mature-than-expected crowd of over-excited beauty bloggers descended on the ballroom, with calls of “work it!” and “I can’t believe this is happening” heard as they posed for a seemingly never-ending litany of photos.
The crowd then flooded into the ballroom for the event, which kicked off at a very delayed 3.50 p.m. local time.
They erupted into cheers as Rihanna, swathed in a gold silk robe and a glittering necklace, took to the stage. She was followed in by surprise guest Halima Aden, the hijab-wearing US-Somali model who has been taking the fashion world by storm as of late.
Rihanna went on to talk to fans about her make-up ethos, saying: “You want something that makes you look like your make-up was done five minutes ago, always.”
The beauty boss launched the line in 2017, with a promise to make all women feel included — something that was especially apparent in her game-changing release of 40 different shades of foundation.
“I hope more people get on board with expanding their range of colors,” she said at the event, in reference to the multitude of shades. “Inclusivity is very close to me — it’s all I know. I hope everyone can expand and wake up,” she added, before saying her mother was the first image of beauty she had ever recognized and she could not have created a make-up line without catering to darker skin tones such as her mother’s.
The make-up artists went on to create a series of looks using products from the range, and made sure to rely heavily on the recently released Moroccan Spice palette, which was launched earlier this year.
The launch of the product was not without its controversy, however, as detractors accused her of cultural appropriation over the palette at the time.
The palette’s desert-themed campaign video featured models posing next to a camel and Arab-influenced music playing in the background and some social media commenters slammed the campaign over its apparent lack of any Moroccan models.
“As someone who is half Amazigh Moroccan, I (would have hoped that) if you (were) going to have a palette inspired by — or do the shoot in — Morocco, you could have at least cast one person of Moroccan or Amazigh descent,” one commenter posted on Twitter. The video was shot in the US, however.
For her part, Rihanna did not address the backlash, but said the palette was inspired by her trips to Morocco, garnering cheers from Moroccan audience members at Saturday’s event.
Fenty Beauty, named 2017’s best innovation by Time Magazine, just celebrated its first birthday by releasing two new diamond-themed products. Diamond Milk Gloss Bomb — a “dewy highlight for your lips,” according to a press release — and Diamond Bomb, a face and full-body highlight that gives wearers a shimmering glow.