You too can look like Cruella Deville with MAC's Venomous Villains Collection!

By now, you're probably aware of the Disney Princess Industrial Complex, an entire industry built on encouraging young girls to fantasize about being princesses and convince their parents to spend tons of cash making their tiara-clad dreams come true. Well, apparently the folks at Disney don't want to stop at marketing their characters to young girls, because they are teaming up with MAC Cosmetics to offer a line of Disney-inspired makeup. And what's more, the makeup is not modeled after Disney's princesses, but rather their "Venomous Villains." You too can look like Cruella Deville or the Evil (nameless) Queen from Snow White! Finally!

Of the many weird things about this campaign, the weirdest is that Disney is marketing its villains to an older crowd who once presumably wanted to look like its princesses (also: who wants to spend $30 for an eyeliner pencil that makes them look like a dog-fur coat impresario?). It's as if between the ages of eight and fifteen (or whenever they are figuring girls move from watching cartoons to wearing makeup to try and look like cartoons) Disney and MAC think young people have shifted from wanting to look pretty and virtuous to wanting to look villainous and evil (and to have highly-arched penciled in eyebrows–a serious Disney villain trend). While teens love some good ol' rebellion, this strikes me as contrived and just plain wacky.

Something interesting in all of this is that, while MAC has not yet revealed which four villains it will feature in the campaign, screenshots (like those in the above video) suggest that they have chosen Cruella Deville (101 Dalmations), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), the Evil Queen (Snow White), and Dr. Facilier (Princess and the Frog)–a man. Yes, the Disney villains (male and female) tend to look like wealthy drag queens, but it is still noteworthy that the cosmetics are inspired by a male character. Will MAC be marketing these cosmetics to men as well as women? Does that dude even wear makeup in the film?

Buy a fake mustache from MAC this September!

So help me out here, everyone. Why on earth would even the most makeup-loving consumer purchase expensive cosmetics designed to help them look like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty? (I remember her being straight-up terrifying back in the day.) Why would anyone buy cosmetics designed to make them look like a cartoon character at all? Isn't feeling the pressure to wear makeup enough without the additional pressure that we shave off our eyebrows and pencil them in near our hairlines in order to look like an evil illustrated character? Enough already!

by Kelsey Wallace
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19 Comments Have Been Posted

I don't know if this is

I don't know if this is really about trying to look like these villains, with arched eyebrows and green faces. It seems more like they are channeling the darker side of "female nature," the whore side of the virgin vs. whore dichotomy. If the Princesses are the virgins... I guess they're just trying to touch all their bases here.

As much as I detest the light queen vs. dark queen stereotyping of womankind, I think this is kind of fun. The Disney villains (at least the early ones) are frightening, yes, but they were also extremely powerful and not to be messed with. As a teenager, lo those many years ago, I remember watching the Disney movies of my childhood and feeling more drawn to the Villains, especially to the Evil Queen and to Maleficent. They were not all sweetness and light and goodness, like their movies' heroines, and when you're in the pits of adolescence and not feeling so much sweetness and light yourself, these awful, evil characters had a little more resonance.

Take what you will from my own emotional reaction, but I felt a little giddy delight, thinking of Disney celebrating their evil side. :-)

I don't think it is so much

I don't think it is so much about looking LIKE these villains as it is about being inspired BY them. They have much cooler/unique colors and outfits than the princesses, who pretty much are all pink, blue or yellow. Also nice to see them remembering that not everyone wearing makeup and/or interested in Disney wants to be force-fed Princess fever all the time.

What I have seen from MAC,

What I have seen from MAC, it is not about copying the looks but the colors the introduce. I remeber a couple years back they had the Barbie collection. I doubt many people bought the wole collection and made their faces look like a barbie ( no that it is possible) But the light pinks and yellows to bring out a more summer girlie look. It seems what colors they would bring out would be dark purples, blues, greens and black. MAC likes shock value, why else team up with Lady Gaga?

Good thinking!

Hmm, I bet you're right that the makeup is "inspired by" these villains as opposed to being straight-up based on them. However, I still have to wonder why these villains would be inspirational to MAC consumers. Is it because Disney is so pervasive that our interests are automatically piqued then they endorse something? Is it because we want to be inspired by evil women when we put on makeup? I guess I just feel like there is *something* to be said here about the intersection of evil and women and cosmetics. Right?

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

It could be possible that

It could be possible that someone at MAC takes an alternative view of Disney females. But since I can't really speak for them, let me offer my explanation of why I love the idea of this MAC collection:

IMO, the Disney villainesses have power and agency. They aren't just carried along by fate - they make things happen. The classic princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White) have never been interesting to me (even when I was little) because... well, there's nothing interesting about them! They're beautiful and nice and... that's just about it? That's all? (Belle from Beauty and the Beast is the one exception for me - but that's a discussion for another time.)

I haven't seen The Princess and the Frog, so I can't comment on that character, but Cruella de Vil, the Queen from Snow White, and Maleficent (my favorite villain!) may be evil (if you want to use a very basic black-and-white classification of "good" and "evil"), but I love that they want something, and they go for it. They make other people's knees tremble, even men's. Who wants to be a "nice" little princess when you can be a woman with goals and the power to make them happen? And their goals are for themselves - maybe beauty or revenge or a fur coat are not the greatest of goals, but at least their goals are not 1) to find a man and 2) have him save them from their sad little lives and live happily ever after.

I am in no way advocating murder or the bludgeoning of cute little puppies... I'm just saying that Disney, in creating their dichotomy of good vs. evil, seemed to define "good" as docile, "nice," and basically uninteresting, whereas power, drive, and being completely different from everyone else (especially visually) seemed to fall under the category of "evil." Based on those definitions... I can definitely see why MAC might be drawn to the villainesses. And my interest is definitely piqued.

(Sorry for the essay. I like discussing this topic. And makeup.)

I think my main objection

I think my main objection with this argument is that, while perhaps the Disney villains do have greater agency than their princess counterparts, they do so in a way that, as you rightly pointed out, is markedly "evil." what this seems to suggest to the main demographic targeted with Disney films (young girls) is that in order to be liked, loved, or sexually-desired-but-still-sexually-pure (like the princesses) you must be passive and nice and pretty; conversely, because of the consistent portrayals of the villains, physical ugliness, evil, assertiveness and ambition become basically equated with each other.

by extending their marketing campaigns to reach an older and thus more diverse group of consumers, Disney is further publishing their shallow and potentially harmful dichotomy of female personality. they are addressing grown women (or whoever is the main buyer of MAC products; I believe they're pretty expensive and thus not purchased so much by teens as by adults with steady jobs) as children, utilizing a brand more often associated with the elementary-school set to sell a mature product, and it's insulting--yet ultimately, unsurprising.

When I was 16-19 I would

When I was 16-19 I would have loved this--I actually plucked my eyebrows to look like the wicked queen from Snow White.

I think you're overreacting here. Most people who know enough to spend money on MAC are already versatile with their makeup skills; they know, for example, how to cover eyebrows for a day with makeup, rather than plucking them out for a certain look. This is just a fun thing to play around with for strippers, models, or people going out for a wild night on the town--people (mostly) won't be buying this line for everyday use.

How do you know this line

How do you know this line won't be bought and used for every day looks? Have you seen ANY of the actual products? I work for MAC and I haven't seen any. And to say it's a fun thing to play around with for strippers? That's insulting to women such as myself who wear makeup, and do it for a living, to show off our artistic capabilities.

Theories and concerns

I'd bet that these cosmetics will mainly just draw adults/teens who are fiercely loyal to the Disney brand. (Weird, but they do exist.) Sure, some of the villainesses have been beautiful, but if all you want is some purple or black makeup...
I've also met young women who identify with these characters; as another commenter indicated, they can seem appealing since they're generally more unique and less compliant to the status quo, plus there's the young "gothic" market. I know that Disneyland has a popular design for t-shirts, mugs and god knows what else featuring a collection of the baddies.
Also, the Disney villain concept smacks of another naughty-but-not-too-naughty idea. It brings to mind products like the clothes that say Be Sexy (It Doesn't Mean You Have to Have Sex) and the patriarchal expectation of women to be sweet with a hint of spice, seductive but only in certain ways and contexts, mischievous but only in non-threatening ways, etc. <i>Mirror someone deemed "bad" -- but they're only a G-rated cartoon, and they wash right off you!</i>
My biggest concern, watching and reading this, is about the Facilier collection, and not because he's OMG A GUY. Didn't he generally just wear black?...I'm really afraid they're going to try to base makeup on his skin color.


Does Disney have any other POC villians? I kow nothing about makeup but skin tone is supposed to be important right? So maybe Dr. Facilier is their only option? I speak from complete ignorance so feel free to smack me down if this is wrong.


from <i>Aladdin.</i> (Maybe there was one or more in <i>Mulan</i>? I don't remember.) Also a guy, and he's drawn significantly less attractively than Facilier; plus, I'm sure they want to plug <i>Princess and the Frog</i> on DVD.

ah ha!

Now I just feel stupid for forgetting that. I love Jafar and he even wears eyeliner! Mulan's villains were Mongolian and had no makeup unless you consider the contacts that black out your irises makeup.

Villainous Costumes

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Venomous Villains Collection is being released during the fall. The timing seems too perfect with Halloween closing in... And while MAC may just be using the Disney villain image as inspiration for a new product line, I can definitely sense them channeling the darker female side just in time for All-Hallows-Eve. This year, why be a bunny, a nurse, or a french maid, when you can be a "bad" Disney villain?

"Yes, the Disney villains

"Yes, the Disney villains (male and female) tend to look like wealthy drag queens, but it is still noteworthy that the cosmetics are inspired by a male character. Will MAC be marketing these cosmetics to men as well as women?"

funny that you point out the villains look like drag queens-- many queens use MAC cosmetics. MAC is pretty queer in general. for its Viva Glam campaign, the company has used RuPaul, kd Lang, Elton John, Boy George, and Lady Gaga as spokespersons.

MAC's "Venomous Villains" collection is in line with the company's love for all things camp. Disney villains are fierce bitches, and fierce bitches are often icons for queer folk. to me, the vibe of the collection is fun, campy, queer, and creative.

Dr. Facilier

Haven't seen The Princess and the Frog, but based on the picture below, I immediately assumed that Dr. Facilier was selected because he is black. To my knowledge there are no other black Disney villains, and I suspect that MAC's marketing dept. wants to include a color shade that's targeted to African-American complexions.

Me, I'm kind of hoping for an eventual shade inspired by Ursula the Sea Witch. I might even buy that one and I wear lipstick maybe once a month.


Omg yes! How could they forget Ursula? That is plain offensive, she's my favorite female villain.

I don't know, I kind of like it

I'm totally not a big makeup-wearer --- very rarely, I'll put on lipstick and/or eyeshadow --- but I'd love a lipstick shade meant to evoke Maleficent. I remember thinking she was really pretty, even if also scary, and wishing I could grow up to have a deep, lilting voice like hers.

If these were more in my price range (i.e., dirt cheap) I'd totally get a few. And I'm 25.

Nobody's supposed to use the

Nobody's supposed to use the makeup to make themselves look like Disney villains. The packaging will have the characters on it (it will be special, cute, luxe packaging like MAC's campaigns are known for), the colors will probably be drawn from the character colors and emphasize vampy "wicked" looks, and the names of the products and shades will be in keeping with the villain theme. Check out last year's Hello Kitty MAC campaign if you want to see examples of how it works.

I'm not much into MAC (or at all into Disney) but I don't see why not a line inspired by villains. I can't count the cosmetic or fashion companies that have drawn inspiration for new lines from fairy tale or villain sources, those other companies just didn't have the clout or want to make the financial investment of actually getting the rights to use specific Disney characters. (Urban Decay did Alice In Wonderland a while back and China Glaze, a nail polish company, did The Wizard Of Oz.)

My opinion

As some others have stated already, this collection has an interesting side to it. We see villains in the spotlight, rather the kind, every day beauties who always win, and who we want(ed) to be like at a lot of times in our lives.
We see characters with a certain dark part about them, and characters that have visible faults and imperfections (whch cause their downfall in the end). I don't think that the actual products are created to allow women to copy the looks of these characters, instead I believe that they are designed to perhaps bring out a different side of a woman; something she doesn't dare normally or something she tries to not do.
Another thing I find interesting about the female characters (haven't seen The Princess and the Frog) is that they were intrigued by their beauty, it's enhancement and their pride. In the cases of the evil queen and Cruella we definitely see a direct link to trying to be beautiful, through either wanting to be the most beautiful woman through natural beauty, or by trying to look beautiful through wearing gorgeous fur.
Overall I am looking forward to the collection, especially the Cruella part. I've loved this character when I was little and I love reds and golds, which seem to be a main aspect of the collection part.

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