In a world obsessed with unattainable beauty standards, there are individuals like Ariana Covarrubias who not only challenge these norms but shatter them entirely. Ariana, a young woman living with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB), was recently featured in a beauty campaign for ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starr, an important step towards promoting inclusivity in the beauty industry.
debra of America had the privilege of delving into a Q&A with Ariana where she shares her experiences and the impact that this campaign has had on both her life and the EB Community at large!
Q: Can you share a bit about your journey and how you connected with ONE/SIZE?
A: I was contacted by the OS team in December of 2021 after they enjoyed one of my makeup videos reviewing the accessibility of their products. From there, they became the first-ever beauty brand that I worked for and created a long-term partnership with. In May 2023, I received an unexpected email, inviting me to be one of the faces for their newest setting powder launch. This was the first-ever beauty campaign + beauty commercial I have been a part of.
Q: What motivated you to challenge conventional beauty standards?
A: One of my motives has always been the lack of representation I experienced growing up as a child and the lack of acceptance that I felt when I initially started my makeup journey and experimenting with makeup in 2017. As a society, we have this idea that individuals with disabilities are not capable or are not interested in things such as beauty and makeup, but I wanted to prove the opposite.
Q: How has your EB shaped your perception of beauty and self-confidence?
A: My perception of beauty will always be different from the stereotypical POV. EB has shown me that beauty comes from within, and the impact you make in your life and in the world can only be derived from your willingness and self-motivation. In which has nothing to do with appearance.
Q: What message do you hope to convey to others through your participation in this campaign?
A: When I agreed to participate in this project, I knew that I was not only doing this for me and my career, but also for the younger girls with this illness that will be able to see for the very first time ever that someone that looks like them with severe scarring and bandages being included in a beauty campaign. I hope that my participation can ease the worries of younger EB girls and EB families and reassure them that little by little, society is becoming more inclusive and appreciative of people like us. And that finally, the world is seeing us for who we are and for what we have to offer, not for what we look like.
Q: Can you tell us about the response you’ve received from the campaign, both from the EB Community and the wider public?
A: The received response has been extremely positive and encouraging. It has shown me that this was something that was needed and that will bring a lot of motivation to many people.
Q: Were there any challenges or fears you had to overcome when deciding to be a part of this campaign?
A: Regardless of how well and put together I appeared, I still have EB and I had many concerns throughout the 12-hour shoot. Including blood leaks, pain getting out of control, the risk of new wounds and blisters from being so active and on my feet. But something that I must acknowledge is that the OS team, and Patrick Starr, who is the founder of the brand, were very accommodating from start to finish, and were continuously making sure that my body's needs were being met which allowed a successful and beautiful end result.
Q: In what ways do you think the beauty industry can become more inclusive?
A: I think we still have a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity in the beauty and entertainment industry. I think being aware of individuals with all types of disabilities, as well as being considerate of any possible accommodations is the first step. In addition, beauty brands still have a lot of work to do when it comes to the accessibility of products.
Q: Do you have any advice for others who may be struggling with self-acceptance?
A: My biggest advice would be to follow your desires, regardless of other people's opinions, and what they think you should, or should not be doing. I’ve became happier with my image & my body when I started to realize that my impact in this world came from my hard work and intelligence, not from my appearance.
Q: How has being part of this campaign affected your own self-esteem and self-image?
A: Being part of this campaign has been a daily reminder that being who you are and staying true to yourself, will always take you to the furthest places, regardless of any differences.
Q: Can you share a memorable moment from the campaign that stands out?
A: My favorite part of the whole experience was being acknowledged by who I was, and the work that I do rather than my appearance. Throughout the whole day, I was included in everything, and never once felt odd for standing out more than my campaign peers.
Q: What's your vision for the future of beauty and representation in the media, and how do you plan to contribute to that vision?
A: My hope is that through the work that is being done now we will eventually get to a place where nobody feels excluded or not represented in any industry. My goal is to continue making the first step into these brands so that others like me won’t struggle as much. This may have been the first time someone with Epidermolysis Bullosa was included in a beauty campaign, but I am very confident it will not be the last time.
Thank you to Ariana for sharing her incredible story! Her involvement in the ONE/SIZE campaign sends a powerful message that beauty knows no bounds and that strength can be found in vulnerability.