What does it mean to be a cool young woman in 2016? And what will it mean to be a cool young woman in 15 years’ time?
If the young stars of Stella McCartney’s mesmerising ad campaign for her new fragrance POP are anything to go by, it’s about having something to say about the world, it’s about being authentic, and it’s about doing way more than just posting on Instagram.
Kenya Kinski-Jones, Amandla Stenberg, Lola Leon and InStyle’s October cover star Grimes, were all hand-picked by McCartney for the campaign. It’s a pretty radical move to cast a gang of girls who are more underground than mainstream for a perfume ad, but it’s one that taps into the mood of what it takes to be cool right now. ‘It’s about the casting of new girls and giving a new identity to beauty for a different generation of women,’ says McCartney. ‘I feel strongly that a lot of the time the way women are portrayed in this kind of arena is a hard one to live up to. What I wanted to do here with POP was to get different personalities, different young women, and celebrate them and bring them together. Each of them has their own voice and identity.’
Take Madonna's daughter Lola Leon who, at 19, has managed to stay relatively out of the limelight compared to some of her contemporaries like Brooklyn – or even Harper – Beckham. She has instead been busy doing ‘normal’ girl stuff, studying performing arts at the University of Michigan. You won’t find her on Instagram or Snapchat, save for in the guise of her and her mother’s Material Girl fashion label, and there have been virtually no interviews with her.
Next, Kenya Kinski-Jones, a 23-year-old model and animal rights activist whose parents are film star Nastassja Kinski and the renowned music producer Quincy Jones (the mastermind behind the biggest-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller). She has a degree in journalism from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and says she is most comfortable wearing faded jeans and a pair of Vans rather than bodycon and Louboutins.
And, at 17 years old, but wise well beyond her years, there’s Amandla Stenberg. You likely remember her as Rue in 2012’s The Hunger Games, but she’s now making a name for herself for being outspoken on issues of race and gender. A video she made for a school project last year called Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows on the subject of cultural appropriation has had over two million views on YouTube, and she refers to her gender as non-binary. Stenberg has also penned a comic book called Niobe: She Is Life, the first of its kind with a black writer, black star and black illustrator.
It makes sense for a fragrance that its ambassadors should be about something other than looks, but get used to a new generation of authentic, individual, selfie-shunning, smart girls in all arenas. Because the future’s female role models look like this.
Amandla Stenberg (top)
Actor, campaigner and poet
The Hunger Games star and recipient of a ‘Feminist of the Year’ award in 2015 says: ‘I get frustrated when other people’s voices are being silenced. My job is to be a megaphone for other people. I have a powerful tool of having people listen to what I actually say and I want to inspire change.’
Performing arts student
You’ll know her as Lourdes Leon, but it seems like Lola, aka Madonna’s eldest daughter, has been saving her voice for just the right moment. ‘It’s important for me to overcome a lot of insecurities,’ she says of starring in Stella McCartney’s POP fragrance ad campaign. ‘I have a lot of people judging my every move. It’s important for me to not let it rule my life.’
Animal rights activist
Kinski-Jones’s idea of modern-day female beauty doesn’t conform to the fame-hungry profiles of a certain well-known family of women who share her first two initials. The daughter of cult actress Nastassja Kinski and record producer Quincy Jones, she describes a modern beauty as: ‘She is natural and effortless. She’s passionate, curious, educated and flawed in the best way.’ Kinski-Jones could easily be describing herself.
POP is the new fragrance by Stella McCartney EDP, £54 for 50ml (stellamccartney.com)