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Glamour's New Beauty Director Ying Chu on Ethnic Diversity

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Ying Chu, courtesy of Glamour

After recent masthead shake-ups at magazines including Teen Vogue and Glamour, a new generation of young, ethnically diverse beauty editors is emerging—and they're bringing a fresh perspective on beauty to traditional media.

As young women of color come into power in the beauty industry, there's an opportunity for assumptions about race, beauty, and products to be challenged in an unprecedented way. For the next few weeks, we'll be speaking with several of these women and getting their perspective on the state of the industry.

Today, we kick things off with Glamour magazine's Executive Beauty Director, Ying Chu. Chu, 30, replaced long-time Glamour beauty director Felicia Milewicz, who was at Conde Nast for nearly 41 years. Though Chu technically started the job back in January, the current May issue of Glamour is her first full issue. After the jump, see what she has to say about diversity in beauty, the role of social media, and topknots.

What does your role entail and how is it different from what you've done in the past?
I oversee all beauty content for the Glamour brand and am excited about embracing the interactive element to beauty and going beyond the pages of the magazine to the digital world through Glamour.com, our YouTube video channel, and social media. The fact that [Glamour Editor in Chief] Cindi [Leive] believes in the importance of our beauty coverage being represented on all these platforms was a big draw for me in coming to Glamour.

You're taking on this role at a relatively young age. Why do you think you were hired for the job?
Cindi and I saw eye-to-eye on ideas and the forward direction of the content from the moment we met.

Do you see a trend towards more diversity on the editorial side of beauty content creation?
We are seeing more diversity in the beauty industry across the board, and I think it's a trend that's here to stay. Glamour has an incredibly diverse readership, and the staff and content both mirror that.

What about in front of the camera? Are beauty brands speaking to non-white customers through the models they use and the products they're creating?
We're seeing major global brands embracing diversity—I love seeing Liu Wen and Joan Smalls for Estée Lauder, Freida Pinto and Jennifer Lopez for L'Oréal Paris, Janelle Monae and Sofia Vergara for CoverGirl, to name a few. And I expect there will be even more of a mix in the future to represent the melting pot that is America and to echo the shift of global economics and consumers.

What are you hoping to accomplish in your new role?
We want to spark a reaction in our readers—a need to share what they've just read and seen because it's that good, that jaw-droppingly beautiful. I am looking forward to evolving our beauty coverage by adding more bold imagery, lots of news—informed by the beauty industry, but also by fashion, pop culture, and the street—and upping the emotional connection of beauty through storytelling. For instance, "It's My Thing" is a new essay column. The first one is in the May issue with Susie Bubble riffing on her signature topknot. She's incredibly fun, thoughtful, and creative and I really think our readers will feel inspired by her.

Do your readers have strong opinions about how women of color are treated by the beauty industry?
Of course! Glamour's readers are smart, opinionated, savvy. Ultimately, they want to see themselves represented in whatever they consume. There's so much choice out there now — why not go for something that feels like a custom fit?
· All beauty coverage [Racked]