MAC Has Raised Half A Billion Dollars For HIV/AIDS and Isn't Done Yet

Saturday, May 25, 2019

MAC Has Raised Half A Billion Dollars For HIV/AIDS and Isn't Done Yet

Christian Mitchell was fresh out of the Fashion Institute of Technology when he first got a very coveted job working for MAC Cosmetics. In fact, before his employment, he was something of a regular at the Christopher Street location — stopping by for products or touch-ups to perfect his outlandish looks before turning it out on the dance floor at the legendary Limelight Disco.

But, shortly after his very first months as a bona-fide MAC Pro, tending to all the denizens of New York’s West Village in the ‘90s (“On Saturdays and Sundays, we’d actually have a line of people waiting to get in,” he says. “Lady Bunny would do the door!”), he felt his career had reached a major peak. “Queen Mother” RuPaul descended onto the store to celebrate a newly-launched initiative by the makeup company’s founders, Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan. It was called the Viva Glam Techno Rave Tour.

Viva Glam was launched in 1994, right in the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “It was a purpose-driven, emotional community outreach program to help people in and around the industry,” explains John Demsey, Executive Group President of the Estée Lauder Companies, which now owns MAC. “They created a 100% giving model where every single cent of the Viva Glam product proceeds went to those efforts. This was unprecedented at the time.”

As a result, MAC, which — thanks to Angelo and Toskan’s vision — was already a staple of the creative and LGBTQ+ community, cemented its place in advocacy, far before it was in vogue to do so...

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