The selection affects South Africa’s Gen Z. Image via @blackpinkofficial Instagram

MAC recruits BLACKPINK’S Lisa as first K-pop beauty brand ambassador

South African Gen Z K-pop fans comment on MAC cosmetics’ big beauty ambassador announcement.


The selection affects South Africa’s Gen Z. Image via @blackpinkofficial Instagram

On 19 October it was announced that BLACKPINK’s 23-year-old Lisa Manobal had been appointed global brand ambassador for MAC Cosmetics and South African Gen Z K-pop fans are all for it.

“Together with MAC, I am excited to invite and empower more audiences as we both have individuality and diversity at our core,” said Lisa in the MAC press release.

This month alone, internationally renowned K-pop group BLACKPINK released a documentary on Netflix, dropped their first full-length album and released collaborations with Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B.

If you are new to K-pop or BLACKPINK, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Lisa’s K-pop journey

Years after being born as Pranpriya Manobal, the multilingual Thai descendent legally changed her first name to Lalisa and is known globally as Lisa.

In 2010 she auditioned to join YG Entertainment in Thailand and officially joined the label as their first non-ethnically Korean trainee in 2011.

South African K-pop fan Fiqah Voster (20) comments:

“Because she is Thai, she comes in with a new perspective towards the traditional K-pop ways. She is very inspiring when it comes to her rapping, singing, and dancing which encourages others to express their uniqueness.”

The opportunity opened many doors for Lisa as she debuted in 2016 as a member of the South Korean girl group, BLACKPINK.

“It’s admirable to see how far she has come. From the Netflix BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky documentary you can see how hard she has had to work,” said Krystn Hockey (20).

The SA-admired BLACKPINK sound

The Gen Z love and appreciation for K-pop music in South Africa is attributed to word of mouth and of course, social media.

Over the years, the group has brought us impressive versatile pop bangers blended with elements of EDM, hip-hop, and even rock.

BLACKPINK fan Nande Mhlana (22) who is drawn to their “K-pop hip hop sound” comments:

“I mean, eleven official languages in South Africa and you thinking rapping in Korean is somehow going to affect my love for music? No sir.”

MAC announces K-pop ambassador

According to a press release shared by MAC, Lisa signed a long-term partnership allowing her to cover key campaigns, iconic collections and innovative programmes starting October 2020.

When it comes to her personal beauty philosophy, she claims to have always loved MAC makeup and resonates with the brand’s self-expressive focus.

“K-pop has been so popular for such a long time and Lisa has been a brand ambassador for Celine, so I guess MAC is finally joining the rest of the world by jumping on the inclusivity train,” said Tao Willemse (17).

Having Lisa as a global brand ambassador for MAC promotes connection between different cultural spaces.

Although exciting for others, some had felt quite disheartened as they viewed it as western media’s attempt to get at the pockets of K-pop fans.

“K-pop fans go hard especially if their favs are caught toting certain more attainable products and I mean it’s MAC!” said Mhlana.

Challenging societal beauty standards

Aside from the progressive news, Lisa had previously dealt with many racist and hate comments due to being the only non-Korean BLACKPINK member.

“The beauty standards in Korea are crazy, they value a lot of superficial things. Girls who have darker skin get ridiculed a lot,” said Hockey.

Lisa’s experience is one that resonates with many people of colour within South Africa, as the fight for representation and inclusivity within the beauty industry continues.

“I hope this news helps to destigmatise Asian people in media, because in South Africa discrimination and stereotyping is normalised towards such minority groups,” said Nicola Davids (17).