Melissa Barrera opens up about becoming Clinique's first ever Latina brand ambassador

Clinique has just appointed its new Global Brand Ambassador - and ever the change-maker, the skincare brand has chosen to redefine what a 21st century ambassador should be.

Introducing Melissa Barrera, a bold and brave voice as well as a beautiful face.

“We want people of substance to represent Clinique, more than just pretty faces and talking heads," explained Elizabeth Nolan, Clinique Global Creative Director. "We knew immediately that Melissa’s intelligence and passion are inextricable from what make her so beautiful.”

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The 31-year-old Mexican actress and singer burst onto our screens with In the Heights and she is now starring in the new Scream instalment - currently in cinemas.

Melissa is perhaps most known however for using her voice for good - speaking up about empowerment and inclusivity. Not to mention, making history, as she now becomes Clinique's first ever Latina ambassador.

“As we look to the future, and the world begins to reopen, we are filled with a renewed feeling of positivity," explained Michelle Freyre, Clinique Global General Manager. "Melissa is a talented, beautiful Latina that embodies this spirit of optimism. We are thrilled to bring her passion, energy, and point of view to life and celebrate her heritage that is such an important part of her identity."

“I am thrilled to be a new Global Ambassador for Clinique – an iconic brand the women in my family have loved for generations," explained Melissa. "I am proud to be a part of a brand that is led primarily by women."

She continued: "I am also deeply honoured to be the first Latina representing the brand globally. Our culture is so multidimensional that one face could never be representative of the entire breadth of Latina beauty, but I’m thrilled to add my voice to this conversation - in both Spanish and English!”


MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Melissa to talk about the milestone moment, Latina beauty hacks and where she gets her confidence...

How does it feel to be the first Latina ambassador of Clinique?

It has felt incredible - it's so surreal. I never would have imagined something like this happening to me. I just feel so grateful and honoured to have been chosen by Clinique to be the first Latina ambassador. It also feels like it was long overdue to have a Latina ambassador because this brand has such a strong presence and a loyal following in Latin America. I grew up with Clinique - all the women in my family use Clinique, so it feels like a beautiful full circle moment to be the face of a brand like this that is so much about female empowerment. Clinique is about helping everyone achieve the best skin that they can have so that they can feel confident. All the messages that they have and all the causes that they're behind are things that are very dear to my heart, so I feel so lucky for this to be my first campaign ever, and for the brand that I love so much.

Clinique described you as a talented woman with a bold, brave voice. What do those values mean to you?

I mean, I feel like sometimes having a bold, brave voice gets me into trouble - it's not always a good thing! But I have always spoken my mind. I think it's because my mum always encouraged me to speak up and ask questions - to question things and say what I think, to give my opinion and be loud. So, that to me is important when it's used for good and when it's not too in the detriment of anything else. I think it's important to signal that difference because being loud is not always a good thing. But I love that they loved that about me because it's so much of who I am. I'm not a person who will change who I am to fit a certain box or to fit the characteristics of a certain brand. It just goes to show that Clinique is really about embracing each person for their uniqueness and their strengths. It's so much what the company is about. Being for everybody - having all the shades for all the different skin tones and being for men and women in equal measure. For everyone to know that they can have great skin and that they can be confident in who they are and embrace their own unique beauty. I am so proud to represent that.


Do you have a favourite Clinique product?

I have a few favourite products. I feel like I always say the Moisture Surge 100 Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator is my favourite, and it is because it's something that I use every day on my skin - it feels really hydrating. I love Aloe Vera because it's always been a home remedy in Mexico - we always had Aloe plants in our backyard and whenever anything happened - a burn, a rash, a pimple - anything, we would put on Aloe Vera. So, to find this product that has Aloe Vera in it and is so deliciously hydrating - like the texture of it and the way that you just immediately see the results, I love it. I use it every day and it has genuinely helped me so much. In past projects where I have been shooting under very harsh climate conditions, this has really saved me.

What role does beauty play in your life?

I mean, I'm Latina. We care a lot about how we look and we always like to be presentable. I remember my mum when I was moving away to NYU for college - she told me, "Please please please, stay the way that you are. I don't want you to turn into a polonga" - a polonga means someone who is lazy and doesn't care about how they look. I feel like it's this thing that people think in Latin America. We see people from the United States in flip flops and shorts and we're like, why? We don't leave the house if we don't look pristine. It's a very Latin thing and so I have always been very conscious of it. I started doing skincare very young and I'm very grateful for that. I started going to the dermatologist when I was like 12 or 13. One of my sisters had a rash on her back because we would drag each other around the carpet, so my mum took her to the dermatologist and she brought all of us. Then I started using sunscreen and moisturisers when I was super young and I'm so grateful that I did. I think it's never too early to start with a skincare routine. For some reason, we wait until we feel that we're getting older to start and I just think it's such a valuable routine to implement into your life from when you're young. It really helps - I think it has definitely helped me a lot.


What is the best beauty advice?

Drinking water. I'm 31 and in the past two or three years, I've really started to see the effects on my face from what I put in my mouth. I have really started to see it and so now, I get why drinking water is so important because hydrating your body will inevitably hydrate your skin. That's a really good tip that I got when I was super young. And then also my mum would always tell me to put sunblock on and that is something that I do daily. If you're working in the entertainment industry and you have harsh lights pointed at you, it can be damaging to the skin even if you're not outside, so it's so important to use sunscreen.

What gives you confidence?

That's a really good question. I think my husband gives me a lot of confidence because he believes in me more than I believe in me sometimes. The support and love of my family gives me confidence. And sometimes even thinking back on my life and how far I've come gives me confidence - reminding myself of where I started, where I am now, how much I have grown and everything that I've done. It gives me a little boost. To remember, wow I really have actually accomplished a lot. And I know that I'm maybe not where I want to be at this moment, but I'm on my way and I think that sometimes that little reminder - looking back and honouring your younger self - can give you a lot of confidence.

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Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.