With over a decade as a commercial model, Ross has seen first-hand how marketers fabricate the ideal vision of beauty to sell products.
“The beauty industry [in Asia] is still quite behind and old fashioned. The way they do advertisements for skin care, make-up – for pretty much anything – you're not going to see a darker-skinned girl,” she said.
As a Eurasian, Ross recounted how it was easier for her to be cast in beauty commercials because she was fairer than most of the population in Thailand.
“I think there is an issue with the way the media portrays beauty here. What we need to be doing Is uplifting and empowering young women but when what the media is doing, it’s the opposite.”
Ross told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that she considers selling an unrealistic image of beauty an unethical practice.
“We need more diversity. It's not about getting rid of all the fair-skinned models. We need to have a more diversified image of beauty and celebrate it because I feel like [in Asia] this is not celebrated at all. Instead, we’re putting them down and telling them they are not good enough.”
Ross’ unpleasant experiences motivated her to develop Seasun Society as a purpose-led, inclusivity-driven brand.
“I'm someone in a position of privilege where I have a following and audience to speak to. That was definitely the purpose and drive behind my brand. I wanted to have something that inspires people, it not about taking their money and selling them some crazy ideal.”
“We have such a diverse pool of beauty in [South East Asia] and I just want to be able to celebrate and showcase it and be proud of it as well.”
She hopes that by using the brand to spread a message of beauty in diversity, more people will demand the same from other beauty brands.
“The change has to come from the people as well. People need to start by embracing themselves and realising that they don't need things like whitening products.”
To learn more about Madi Ross and Seasun Society, you can listen to the podcast above or on Apple Podcasts.