Long chatted with us about the new commercial, the beauty products she’s currently using, and reflections on her legacy as a Black beauty icon.
Allure: This commercial illustrates a fun phenomenon: Women using products marketed towards men. Are there any “men’s” products that you borrow from the guys in your life?
Nia Long: We are living in an age where there are no gender lines and I celebrate that. The beauty industry, in general, is catering towards the way we live now and the way people are identifying themselves. My boys use my stuff, I use their stuff. Well, maybe not my perfume — some of my perfume is a little bit more feminine-smelling — but we just use what we like. I’ve used the Old Spice deodorant over the years. When you run out, you just go to the next medicine cabinet.
Allure: So, I’m just going to say it. You’ve been an absolute beauty icon for Black women for decades. I wonder, from being that quintessential ’90s beauty to now, how has your perception of beauty changed over the years?
Long: I look back at my ‘90s lip liner and my thin brows — [there was] too much of everything! I guess the most important thing is less is more. Even though in the ’90s, that was hot. That’s what everyone was doing.
Allure: That was the look and you ate!
Long: I kind of cringe when I look back at some of those photos, “Oh my gosh, what was I thinking?”
Allure: What? You were the moment! But I guess it’s different when it’s you looking back on images of yourself.
Long: I was just going to say that. You have to think about how you feel when you look back at your old photos. I’m not looking at it like, “Oh my gosh, I was shooting Boyz n the Hood at this time,” or “I was on Fresh Prince at this time,” or shooting Friday. Those moments, even though they were public, culture-defining moments, are still my personal ingénue moments. I judge myself — we all do, that’s part of it. Sometimes we do it too much.
Right now, my main focus is to age gracefully and lean into whatever the next phase of my life is. [I don’t] try to be anything that I was or cultivate or create something that I’m not. I think the beauty of a woman comes through her grace, her communication, her patience — just being and allowing herself to go through, phase by phase as we get older and mature.