When it comes to diversity, the beauty industry has been on a path toward embracing a vision that’s representative of the world around us. For a long time, there was the same singular approach—highlighting mostly white or light-skinned models and conforming to Eurocentric beauty standards—but in recent years, there’s been a shift toward true inclusivity. This has meant developing products for everyone and putting people who can actually speak to the experience of not fitting those outdated beauty ideals in decision-making positions.

Ilhem Kerkadi, Integrated communications manager, Lancôme Canada

One of those people is Ilhem Kerkadi. As the integrated communications manager for Lancôme Canada, she has an influential, forward-looking position that’s rooted in strategy and brand communication through the lens of advocacy and influence. “Working on the brand side gives me a unique opportunity to invite change from within,” says Kerkadi. Whether she’s deciding which influencers to partner with or how the brand’s events should be positioned, Kerkadi has a front-row seat to the power of beauty that’s designed for everyone. “What I love about my role is that it solidifies our brand commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she says.


She has only been with the Lancôme Canada team for just under a year, but Kerkadi has already recognized a company culture that prioritizes diversity throughout its structure. “There’s a really great push internally to amplify all voices,” she says. “Plus, there’s a lot of openness when it comes to feedback, especially within my team but also in the organization as a whole.” Even more inspiring is that she has witnessed an eagerness to learn and to correct behaviour. “Everyone is susceptible to making mistakes—that’s being human,” she says. “It’s about being open to acknowledging that you’ve made a mistake and then doing better. For me, an openness to listening and a willingness to change are the keys to any good workplace, and that’s what I’ve found with Lancôme Canada and [its parent company] L’Oréal.”

With a supportive team to lean on, Kerkadi has been able to implement impactful programs that uplift our most vulnerable populations. Take Lancôme’s Write Her Future program, a worldwide literacy campaign that Kerkadi heads in Canada. The program aims to empower women living in poverty through education with a combination of skills training, mentorship and self-employment programs. Truly understanding that nuanced barriers like being Indigenous, racialized or part of the LGBTQ+ community can put these women at a higher risk of poverty means that people like Kerkadi can better equip the participants to reach economic stability. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are the keys to the evolution of the makeup industry,” she says. “And it’s why I love it so much: It’s a vehicle for social change.”

Foundation for all

This idea of inspiring women to embrace their true selves is a through line at Lancôme. Keeping every consumer at the centre of its decisions translates to beauty products that account for a whole range of individual traits. “For us, it’s really crucial to first understand the diversity of our consumers and then develop products that are able to meet their needs,” says Kerkadi. It’s how the brand’s Teint Idole Ultra Care & Glow Foundation was born. An extension of its beloved Teint Idole Ultra line, this 30-shade collection delivers breathable medium coverage that highlights the beauty of one’s natural skin tone. With mega-multi-hyphenate Zendaya and two key creatives from her team—makeup artist Sheika Daley and stylist and image architect Law Roach—representing the Care & Glow Foundation, a total synergy between collaborative people and an unstoppable product is achieved.

Price: $65


For Kerkadi, this made-for-all foundation—and the meaning behind it—emphasizes why diversity in beauty is so important. “As a consumer myself, inclusion is when I’m able to see myself in a brand, whether it’s in the communication or the face of who presents that message,” she says. “I feel extremely privileged to be in a position where I’m able to make that happen—where I’m able to represent the brand and the brand is able to represent me.”

Ilhem Kerkadi photo credits:
Photography: Emilie Hebert
Makeup artist: Louis He-Feng