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Blush Rush

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Elbowed off the covers of Allure, Vogue, and Mademoiselle by starlets, mannequins are now losing ground in the battle to sell mascara. Cosmetics companies are increasingly turning to celebs to endorse their products: Revlon just added Shania Twain to its star-studded spokeswoman stable (which already includes Halle Berry and Salma Hayek), TV stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Josie Bissett promote Neutrogena, and Faith Hill is one of the newest Cover Girls. ”People identify with celebs,” says Joseph Messina, whose New York City-based agency helps create beauty campaigns. ”If that personality can follow through on your makeup line, it’s an even stronger concept than just using a model.” Among the deals that have models furrowing their brows:

Madonna THE COMPACT Max Factor reportedly paid her $6 million for this lipstick plug, but you’ll need a passport to see these spots. The company agreed to her demands to show them only in Europe and Asia. Why do it at all? ”I guess she liked the product. And they paid her some nice money,” says Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg. LINER NOTES The Material Girl was involved in everything from picking the clothes to approving the plotline of the TV ads, which were directed by Truth or Dare’s Alek Keshishian. But who believes the woman who gave us Sex would be nervous about kissing a hunky Italian until she realizes she’s wearing Max Factor Gold lipstick?

Courtney Thorne-Smith THE COMPACT Thorne-Smith’s rumored mid-six-figure, multiyear contract with Almay makes Ally McBeal’s daily retainer fees seem like chump change. LINER NOTES Playing Melrose Place’s girl-next-door Alison and the crisply styled Georgia helped her cinch this deal. ”Our product is hypoallergenic; it’s clean and she exemplifies that,” says Almay’s Tracy LaBrecque, who adds that the actress receives an unlimited supply of makeup. ”She’s everyone’s new best friend…. Nothing’s better than a girlfriend who gets free makeup.”

Brandy THE COMPACT Cover Girl decided this girl was theirs last December, signing her to a multiyear deal to pitch several of their youth products. It also sponsored her ”Never S-A-Y Never” tour. LINER NOTES CG and Brandy’s makeup artist have collaborated on colors, and she wears the company’s Pure Magic Body Art on stage this summer.

Sarah Michelle Gellar THE COMPACT Credit Buffy fanatics for helping Gellar nab this Maybelline contract (a deal estimated to be in the mid-to-high six figures). The company pursued the Slayer after its market research showed teens found her ”inspirational, modern, and hip…someone they can relate to beyond the advertising page.” LINER NOTES In a 1997 issue of INSTYLE, Gellar revealed a passion for products by Shiseido, Chanel, and Lancome, which means this exclusive contract must be a stake in the hearts of Maybelline rivals. Not to mention Gellar’s own bathroom vanity.

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