In 2011, when Jenna Lyons was creative director of J.Crew, she appeared in one of the retailer’s catalogs with her son, Beckett, a toddler at the time, his little toes painted hot pink. Right-wing outrage ensued. It was the same year an article in the New York Post outed Lyons as gay. In a conversation with Glossy, Lyons said that, while much progress in the realm of inclusivity and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has been made in the decade since, there’s still a long way to go. Of being suddenly and unexpectedly outed, she said, “It made me realize how important it is to just be who you are and be unapologetic about [who you are].” After all, “Who the hell cares who anyone has sex with? Like, it is none of your business. It does not matter.”

In September of 2020, Lyons launched Loveseen, a fake eyelashes brand, with makeup artist and former J.Crew collaborator Troi Ollivierre. “If you were to launch a beauty brand five years ago, no one would have even considered putting a boy in an ad,” she said. Things have certainly changed since the nail polish debacle. Lil Yachty just launched a collection of gender-neutral nail polish, and some of today’s top beauty influencers are males. “I love that and it makes me happy for a kid who lives in Alabama, who maybe doesn’t feel comfortable going to the makeup counter,” Lyons said. “But can see James Charles raking it in, and you can do that from your living room.”

As far as activations around Pride Month go, there are the brands that “have always tried to show up and be bold and brazen.” Lyons cited MAC as an example. But the slap-a-rainbow-on-it approach doesn’t sit with her.