The world’s largest cosmetic company, L’Oreal Paris, has officially appointed Gambia’s Jaha Dukureh as its Ambassador. She becomes the newest international spokesperson for the brand and the first to hold that title in an international capacity.
The beauty brand broke the news about the partnership in an Instagram post. “Very proud to welcome our newest spokesperson,” it said in the post.
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Jaha Dukureh, Welcome to the #LOrealParisFamily Very proud to welcome our newest Spokesperson, @jahaendfgm, to the #LOrealParisFamily. Honoree for the Women of Worth Award and nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Jaha is a fearless activist, fighting to end female genital mutilations. Jaha, you are incredibly #Worthit! . . . #LOrealParis
Dukureh shared the photo on her own Instagram and said she was still “in shock” over the announcement.
“My journey so far has been incredible but even I couldn’t believe this dream will ever become a reality and today it has,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity and I want the young women following me here to know that this is attainable for them.”
“To join L’Oréal Paris is also the L’Oréal Paris family joining me in my fight to empower women to defend their rights,” Dukureh said in a statement. “Signing a contract with the No. 1 beauty brand supports my conviction – FGM does not define me, nor any woman, even as we live with its impacts.”
Describing her new achievement as an amazing opportunity as a young African woman, she said: “For me to be a Gambian, to be from Gambisara and from the background I came from, I think it is something that I never dreamt of and never thought would be possible for me, so is an amazing feeling”.
She will make her official L’Oréal Paris debut this year in the campaign for Color Riche, the line of bold makeup for lips, eyes, and nails.
Dukureh is a UN Women Ambassador for Africa and a renowned activist. She is a mother and a survivor of FGM. At 15, she left the Gambia to New York City to marry a man she had never met only to learn that she had undergone FGM as a baby.
She is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, one of Time’s 100 most influential people, an honoree of L’Oréal Paris’ own Women of Worth program, and the very first member of the philanthropic program to become a global brand ambassador.
Born in the Gambia, Dukureh is a leader in the global movement to end FGM and child marriage. In 2013, she founded Safe Hands for Girls, a nonprofit organization designed to end the practices and provide a safe space for survivors.
“I screamed out against FGM and child marriage, wrote blogs, threatened to call law enforcement if I could not leave my husband, established an NGO to combat these practices and petitioned the Obama administration to investigate the profile of FGM in the United States of America,” she said.
Dukureh has contributed to the legislation to ban FGM in her country, Gambia. “We must support women and girls, especially survivors, to lead change and be role models. When a survivor speaks to her own people, it touches a chord.”