Viva Glam at 25

June 18th, 2019

June 18th, 2019

This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of Viva Glam – the iconic lipstick created by MAC to make a meaningful difference to the lives of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.  We look back over the last quarter century of the makeup icon.

In the Beginning

In 1994, at the height of the HIV epidemic, M·A·C Cosmetics created Viva Glam to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.  Combining glamour with a rigorous funding approach M·A·C has worked with a powerhouse of provocative talent including Sia, Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Mary J Blige and Ricky Martin to drive sales of Viva Glam lip products, with the full RRP (less VAT) going towards funding and supporting healthy futures and equal rights for women and girls, and the LGBTQ+ communities while maintaining its decades-long support for those living with HIV/AIDS around the world.

A quarter of a century later Viva Glam has raised over $500 million for the global fight against HIV and AIDS, helping over 19 million people last year alone.  That’s 9,713 grants to over 1,800 groundbreaking and innovative programs and organisations around the globe.  The UK and Ireland have given 540 grants to over 100 charities including Positive East, HIV Ireland, National AIDS Trust, Terence Higgins Trust and George House Trust.


The History of Viva Glam

M·A·C Cosmetics was founded in 1984 by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo.  From the start they had a vision to change their community through their passion for makeup.  We developed a great lipstick colour we called Viva Glam said Frank Toskan.  This little lipstick gave people dignity and saved lives.

In 1994 the first graphic featuring a blue lipstick announced the birth of Viva Glam and the launch of the M·A·C AIDS Fund.  The campaign announced that every cent from the selling price of the lipstick would be donated to the fund to help fight HIV and AIDS.

In 1995, fashion designers including Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett participated in creating a couture colour collection showcasing the shade of the original intense brownish red Viva Glam I Lipstick, with the advertising campaign featuring RuPaul.

Viva Glam Incarnations










Viva Glam II, a pink beige shade, launched with a campaign headed by kd Lang

2000Viva Glam III, a brownish plum colour, promoted by Mary J Blige and Lil’ Kim
2002Viva Glam IV, a rose-gold shade, with Shirley Manson, Elton John and Mary J Blige as ambassadors
2004Viva Glam V, a neutral pink, featuring Boy George, Christina Aguilera, Chloe Sevigny, Linda Evangelista, Missy Elliottand Pamela Anderson to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Viva Glam.
2006Viva Glam VI in terracotta plum promoted by Debbie Harry, Dita Von Teese, Eve and Lisa Marie Presley.
2009A special edition Viva Glam VI SE.  This mauve shade was advertised by Fergie.
2010The end of the version numbers and the start of an annual limited edition instead.  The first featuring Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga.
2011Lady Gaga’s second shade Viva Glam Gaga 2
2012Viva Glam Nicki and Ricky with Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin, a light pink lipstick and a clear lipglass – the first colourless VG shade
2013Nicki Minaj returned with Viva Glam Nicki 2 and light mauve shade, plus RuPaul relaunched the original red Viva Glam I in both lipstick and lipglass










MAC x Rihanna – the first time over $50 million was raised in one year with her bronzed-brown shade

2015Miley Cyrus as ambassador introduced a bright pink shade
2016Ariana Grande promoted a deep matte plum shade and a shimmering lipglass
2017Taraji P H Henson and Jussie Smollett, a berry-red lipstick and sparkling lipglass
2018Sia launched a vivid red shade – Viva Glam Sia











Winnie Harlow launched the 25th anniversary of the iconic original shade, playing homage to RuPaul’s 1994 campaign.

Viva Glam – 2019 and ahead

Today, the HIV epidemic looks very different than it did in 1994.  AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 50%, over 21.7 million people have access to medication, and there are 47% fewer new HIV infections globally.  As the HIV field continues to make incredible advances, M·A·C Cosmetics will look to support populations left behind in this progress that resonate with its consumers and the M·A·C Family, mainly women and girls and the LGBTQ+ community.

The full RRP (less VAT) of the permanent shades Viva Glam II Lipstick, Viva Glam III Lipstick and the new, limited-edition 25th anniversary Viva Glam 25 Lipstick in the original Viva Glam I shade and in a red glitter case, will be donated to support the health and rights of people of all ages, all races and all genders.  M·A·C will continue to make grants to non-profit organisations they believe can make a meaningful impact on health, rights and equality.

All available for £17.50 each from maccosmetics and at department stores nationwide.




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By Sarah Dann

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