A new cosmetics commercial features a lesbian face


Growing up, I always watched the Super Bowl commercials, and never the game. Then even the commercials got old (or maybe it’s the fact that we’re inundated with advertisements everywhere we turn). But I missed out on something really interesting by skipping the game and the ads this year. Thanks to AfterEllen.com reader Becky C. we learned that a lesbian was featured in a Super Bowl commercial in a way that shockingly wasn’t to appeal to the millions of straight men watching.

It wasn’t objectifying or offensive or clichéd or overly sexual (or sexual at all, for that matter). It was Avon. One of the “Faces of Avon” is Daryn DeZengotita, an out lesbian and eight-year Avon representative from Dallas, Texas.

In an interview with the Dallas Voice last week, DeZengotita says she was out in the very beginning of her Avon career, which she started to earn extra income after adopting a child with her partner:

When I went in for the initial auditions, they had us all in this big holding room, waiting our turn. When people would finish and come back out, everyone would ask, “What kind of questions are they asking you? What do they want to know?” And they would say, “Oh, they asked me a lot of questions about my family, things like what my husband does and how he is involved in my Avon business.” I heard that, and I immediately thought, “Uh-oh.” So when it was my turn to go in, first thing I said was, ”I am gay, and I am not careful with my pronouns.” They busted out laughing. They asked me all kinds of questions about my family and my partner and our children. It has been the biggest non-issue, and they have shown absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in promoting me as the face of Avon around the world.

While it was exciting when Ellen became a CoverGirl, having a normal, non-famous person representing our community shows even more progress, if you ask me. You can watch the commercial here.

DeZengotita told AfterEllen.com in an e-mail interview:

[My partner] Celia and I believe that by just living our normal suburban mom lives, we have done more for the gay community in the last several years than we ever did when we were serving on boards and doing fundraisers, etc. And that would be true of my Avon career as well. When we are isolated in the gay community bubble, sometimes we forget that there are still plenty of folks who don’t know they KNOW a gay person.

She really does give a whole new meaning to lipstick lesbian. And it’s not just DeZengotita: Avon is supportive of lesbian rights, in general, and she told us the commercial has allowed some fans of the cosmetics to contact her with their gratitude:

There are many members of our community who find it challenging to shop for cosmetics because they are not treated with respect. I have always wanted to reach out to transgendered persons, for example, because they have such specialized needs. Whichever direction they are going, their skin is ravaged by the hormones. Those transitioning from male to female are at such a disadvantage — they didn’t grow up learning how to apply makeup. Here they are at a time when their self-esteem and identity are most fragile and it’s all right there on their face.

DeZengotita’s celebrity has likely given Avon a boost in lesbian make-up clientele, and people have taken notice. Next up for DeZengotita is an informercial with Suze Orman. And after that, she just hopes the commercial could be nominated for a GLAAD Award so that she can meet Ellen. She said she told her partner she hoped this could become a reality in the future, and Celia’s response was simple: “I get to sit by Portia.”


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