Express Your e.l.f. in Biggest UK Community Driven Campaign for e.l.f. Cosmetics

Sep. 21, 2023
  • Reportage

Originally published on Little Black Book

Inclusive campaign from Southpaw encourages everyone to create their own beauty standards

e.l.f. Cosmetics invites you to live your bold truth by proudly expressing your e.l.f. in its first ever community-led brand campaign in the UK. To bring the e.l.f. acronym (eyes.lips.face.) to life in an irreverent, fun and cheeky way, e.l.f. turned to its community asking them ‘what does e.l.f. mean to you?’ Their responses inspired the campaign. From ‘euphoric.luminous.fierce.’ to ‘’, the campaign, created by Southpaw, celebrates the individuality of every eye, lip and face.

This is more than a campaign, it’s a movement. From social channels to tube stations to digital screens to experiential pop ups, the UK will light up with e.l.f.’s first 30-second UK created advert, encouraging everyone to get involved and #expressyourelf. The 30-second spot will also make its television debut during the much-anticipated return of Big Brother on ITV2, when it returns in October.


Adding a special beat, e.l.f. teamed up with Caity Baser, one of the fastest emerging UK singer/ songwriters whose no-filter, catchy anthems have generated a loyal community following. Caity’s larger than-life personality aligns with e.l.f.’s personality of being a bold disruptor with a kind heart. Caity’s upbeat new single ‘Disco Shoes’ is the soundtrack for #expressyourelf.

The inclusive cast of 20 dynamic personalities, including a punk poet, medical researcher and dancer, reflect numerous gen z subcultures. From street casting to encounters on set, cast members were found in unexpected places. The cast created their own beauty looks and shared how they personally express their e.l.f. Meet more of the cast below. Jay, the punk poet and music journalist shared:

“[e.l.f.] encouraged me to wear my own more masculine clothes and based my makeup for shoot day on something very similar to my everyday look. I wasn’t presenting as anything other than my authentic self which is really refreshing for an ad campaign. I’m really flattered and grateful that e.l.f. saw something in me, and I feel a lot more confident since we shot the campaign.”

Christine Cassidy, vice president and general manager, international, e.l.f. Beauty adds, “At e.l.f., we are on a mission to encourage self-expression and empower others to embrace their individuality. #expressyourelf does just that – it is a movement that personifies who we are at e.l.f. and how we are shaping British culture together with our community. We want every eye, lip and face to feel the joy and freedom of expressing their truest (s)e.l.f. Join us on this amazing journey.”

Glenn Smith, creative director, at Southpaw, the strategic creative agency responsible for the campaign said, “It was a dream to work with e.l.f. – e.l.f. do things differently to other beauty brands, ripping up the beauty rule-book. We’re speaking to an audience that reject stereotypes and makeup is an important way to express the fluidity of their identity. It’s really inspiring. We flipped the casting process, no brief, no labels, just refreshingly real, fun characters that represent our new era of beauty. This is their story, with e.l.f. being this incredibly supportive friend rather than a brand just trying to sell product.”


Meet a selection of the cast

Jay from Hull (they/he)

This non-binary punk poet, multi-slam champion, and music journalist is repped by the pioneering VauHaus model agency.

“I wasn’t presenting as anything other than my authentic self, which is really refreshing for an ad campaign. I’m really flattered and grateful that e.l.f. saw something in me [particularly as] I apply the e.l.f. Camo Concealer most days”.

Meduulla from Manchester (she/her)

This Zimbabwean-born rapper, poet, DJ (and e.l.f.-proclaimed Mancunian Mermaid) is passionate about using words as a force of positive change. Meduulla who has never taken part in a campaign like this before said:

“Being part of the campaign means so much to me because as a rapper that champions being my authentic self, I was able to express my personality through the makeup.”

Lewis from Wigan (he/him)

Scouted on Brick Lane after a night out clubbing with friends, Lewis serves eyes, lips and fish in our new campaign speaking to the e.l.f. belief that anything is possible. Lewis said:

“Honestly, I’ve been shook in the best way about being a part of the e.l.f. campaign. As part of the LGBTQ+ community I felt so seen and am honoured to be part of such an inclusive campaign”.


express your e.l.f.

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