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Posts Tagged ‘make-up’

As is probably the case for many women of my generation, my perception of the Avon cosmetics company was shaped by memories of the glamorous neighbour who called regularly and handed my mother enticingly packaged pots and tubes. She trailed in her wake a heady cloud of scent and left behind a glossy catalogue that was later poured over by my mum who diligently ticked tiny boxes in eager anticipation of her next delivery of frosted pink lipstick and royal blue eye shadow.

Growing up I gravitated towards the vibrant teen-baiting hues of the Rimmel stand in my local chemist. As I exchanged my pocket money for the glossy veneer of adulthood the Avon brand seemed irrelevant and soon disappeared from my mind entirely.

That remained the case for thirty years until earlier this week a tweet arrived directing me to the Clinton Global Initiative website. So what’s the connection between the two? Well, the Clinton Global Citizen Awards, established to recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges, has honoured Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon Products, for showing leadership in the corporate sector and for significantly improving the lives of women worldwide.

There are two distinct strands to the work that Avon undertakes to empower and aid women globally. Firstly, as part of its core business, the company provides earning opportunities to more than 6.2 million independent Avon Sales Representatives worldwide. Thus the potential to secure an independently earned income is realised by women who would otherwise sink into poverty. Secondly, the Avon Foundation for Women, founded in 1955, has emerged as the leading corporate philanthropy organisation for women globally. Who knew?

the Avon Foundation, founded in 1955, has emerged as the leading corporate philanthropy organisation for women globally

The Foundation has adopted the dual mission of supporting research aimed at eradicating breast cancer and of tackling domestic and gender violence directed against women. Last year more than $725 million (€540 million) was raised and directed towards grassroots programs in more than 50 countries. According to the Avon website, funds raised to fight breast cancer are directed towards improving “awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research”. The beneficiaries of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade “range from leading cancer research and clinical centers to community-based, non-profit breast health education programs”.

In 2004 the Avon Foundation launched “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” to raise awareness and funds and, crucially, to advocate for the more effective implementation of laws aimed at curbing violence towards women.  Last year Avon awarded more than $12 million (€8.9 million) to domestic violence organizations to help fund awareness, education, direct services and prevention programs.

It seems that there is more than meets the eye to this “lipstick, powder & paint” and the current product range is pretty funky too. Is anyone else amazed to learn of the philanthropic achievements of Avon?

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Lately it seems like I’ve been stuck in a rut. My apathy knows no bounds. I come home from work with great intentions to clean my hovel of a flat and even whilst faced with the yawning abyss that is my kitchen sink, I somehow can’t seem to find the motivation. (Well now, I’m thinking, if I can’t find the motivation to get my mottled ass in shape and run around the park that is literally outside my sitting room window, how the hell am I supposed to care about the dishes?)

As I’ve mentioned somewhere before, my mother’s advice to me when I go into one of my black troughs is to keep shaving my legs and putting my face on (I swear she’s not Patsy or Eddie from Absolutely Fabulous).

I was brought up to make the best of what I’ve got, which means brushing your hair, putting an outfit together and never leaving the house without make-up. I used to be like this. I was the teenager who suggested we put more lipstick on my (beloved) granny’s corpse in the funeral home because she too loved her slap and would have been disappointed that the mortician chose a nude shade for her lip colour; I’m the girl who a few years ago had to buy a third, count ‘em, GHD because I had blown up two previously from overuse.

Makeover time on America's Next Top Model

Makeover time on America

Pah! It makes me ashamed to see how I’ve let myself slip. Somehow, without realising, I’ve sunk into a slow decline, where I’ve paid less and less attention to myself and gotten very used to being invisible. I suppose over the past two years I’ve had a job where my colleagues were almost entirely men (computer geeks) and a boyfriend who didn’t care too much for putting on the glad rags and somehow it all seemed to rub off on me.

Last weekend it felt like a bell rang in my head. I went out on Friday night, got very enjoyably pissed with friends and socialised with strangers, something I hadn’t done in a very, very long time. When I woke the next day, with a hangover, it really did feel like a bell was ringing in there. Still, I got up, cleaned the house from top to bottom, washed the car, then got into it and drove to Dundrum in my worn-out, greying clothes. I stocked up on jeans, a new top, shoes, Cons, cheapo jewellery and a shiny, shiny handbag.

The following day, I dressed myself in my new wares, stuck Fleet Foxes in the stereo and went to do the recycling. I felt great. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I had actually ‘made an effort’ and it made me feel good about myself. I was smiling to myself as I lugged the recycling to the giant bins. Then a man, total stranger, took the bag of papers out of my hands and emptied it into the bin for me. I swear I nearly swooned. And the man was 60. But still, Jesus, it reminded me of the wisdom in my mother’s words. I may even try some fake tan this week.

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