“For me, polish has always been a form of self-expression,” the hairstylist captioned the photo. His selection as ambassador is pretty spot on. Van Ness has used fashion and beauty as a means of expression on Capitol Hill and on the red carpet alike.
The capitalization and monetization of Pride Month are widespread and problematic, with brands continually using the annual celebration as an opportunity to shill their products. But in this instance, even if the partnership isn’t totally altruistic (for example, Essie is partaking in some Pride Month events but isn’t donating proceeds from its polish to LGBTQ charities as part of the partnership), at the very least it’s increasing representation and furthering the message that beauty and fashion are not entities only women should feel comfortable enjoying.
That sentiment resonates in the comments section of Van Ness’ post, with at least one follower praising his role in shifting the narrative. “My 3yo son loves to wear polish and I’m so glad we are all (hopefully) relaxing these messed up ideas we have about what people can and can’t do!” the commenter said.
Essie included a tutorial to achieve Van Ness’ manicure on its website, but you can get a better look at it below.