The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth range is one of its best-selling skincare selections, with its serum being its hottest item across the board (it’s said a bottle is sold every 23 seconds). While those are marks of a good product, the name is telling of the way beauty is being perceived by consumers, and the industry’s role in propagating such ideals.
As such, the British beauty brand is reversing the harsh effects of its message about aging and rebranding Drops of Youth to Edelweiss. Changes are being made beyond skin-deep as the range will get a new formulation too, along with more products to the line to serve a greater depth of skin concerns.
The Body Shop was moved to rethink its most-loved products following a Global Self Love Index it commissioned in 2021, as part of a self-love campaign. That concluded with the dire, overwhelming response by people around the world who believed the beauty industry largely influenced poor self-esteem with its unrealistic claims and imagery. The majority seemed to have this perception, The Drum reports.
The pessimistic results forced The Body Shop to look into how it might have also been responsible for pushing some of those unachievable expectations onto customers, be it through its language or products. As a company rooted in activism, it recalibrated to see how it could empower shoppers instead.
The new and improved Edelweiss range has double the Edelweiss extract of the original. This natural component is said to have 43% more antioxidant qualities than Retinol, making the collection especially effective at strengthening the skin’s barrier while boosting the ability to heal itself. The flower, after all, has been able to withstand severe winds, snow, and rain in the Alpines.
The Edelweiss flower has been used in folk medicine throughout the years. In today’s metropolises, it holds out against harsh blue light and pollution.
Instead of prolonging youth, the range’s true strength, evidenced by its marketing too, is resilience—both inward and outward.
Expanding from the original lineup of the Concentrate, Liquid Peel, Serum Concentrate Sheet Mask, and Eye Serum Concentrate, there are also two new products—Edelweiss Cleansing Concentrate and Edelweiss Intense Smoothing Cream—to meet various skincare needs.
The Body Shop is also doubling down on its B-corp certification and love of nature by reformulating the range such that it comes from 90% natural origins and is vegan-certified.
Within days, a small white tent stood alone near the washed out ashes of Santa Ana’s Chinatown in 1906 with a cautionary sign: “leprosy: keep out.”
An ailing Wong Woh Ye lay inside the tent in quarantine.
The day before the fire, his documented case of the disease, which was later disputed, prompted an emergency meeting of the Santa Ana City Council on the morning of May 25, 1906. Acting on a resolution drafted by the city’s Board of Health, council members unanimously moved to condemn Chinatown’s remaining buildings and directed the fire marshal to burn it all to the ground.
As word spread, more than 1,000 residents gathered in downtown later that night to watch the fiery finale of a years-long campaign against Santa Ana’s Chinese residents in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Los Angeles Times deemed the blaze “as picturesque an event as could be imagined.”
But now, more than a century later, it’s seen as a shameful chapter in the city’s history — one that Santa Ana’s current council is moving to officially apologize for.
“We just want to do what’s right and recognize past wrongs,” said Thai Viet Phan, Santa Ana’s first ever Vietnamese American councilwoman. “I felt it was really important to me as someone who is trying to do my best to revitalize our Asian American heritage in the city.”
In a joint effort, Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Planning Commissioner Alan Woo, Assistant City Manager Steven Mendoza and Councilwoman Phan worked on the draft apology.
It offers a formal atonement to “all Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to Santa Ana and were the victims of systemic and institutional racism, xenophobia and discrimination.”
The resolution is also unequivocal in naming the past city officials responsible as well as deeming the burning of Chinatown as an act of “fundamental injustice, terror, cruelty and brutality.”
It served as the culmination of an effort to rid the area of Chinese residents that intensified when the city bought a lot in 1904 that abutted the enclave as the site of a new city hall.
Fred Lau, the late proprietor of Santa Ana Food Market, was one of the first Chinese Americans to return to Santa Ana during the 1940s. He opened his grocery store in 1949.
“The Lau family gave a lot of us our first jobs in Santa Ana when we were teenagers,” Hernandez said. “They had close relationships with my family.”
Santa Ana Food Market, which is still in business today, is where the councilman recalled first learning of the burning down of Chinatown from its owners.
With that history in mind, Hernandez began working with Woo, his Planning Commission appointee, on ways to redress the injustice when Phan had received an email earlier this year from a resident about recent Chinatown arson apologies elsewhere, including San Jose.
Woo felt a Santa Ana apology as timely as ever.
“There’s a wave of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hate that has been fueled over the last two years,” he said. “It was important to ask for this, not just for me, but on behalf of the Chinese community because often we’re not viewed as citizens. We are treated as foreigners rather than citizens.”
In addition to the apology, there have also been efforts to commemorate the history with an on-site memorial.
During an October 2020 Downtown Inc. board meeting, a consultant briefly mentioned how an architect and urban planner were working with local historian Dylan Almendral and Chinese American groups on such a project.
“It was certainly a step in the right direction,” Hernandez said.
Taking the lead, supportive council members want to allocate funding from the city’s budget for a future memorial.
But the apology is slated to come first.
During the Santa Ana City Council meeting on May 3, council members directed staff to prepare the resolution to come back before a vote — and soon.
Phan insisted that the vote happen in May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; earlier in the meeting, both she and Hernandez presented a proclamation to the Lau family in recognition of the month.
The councilwoman also suggested that, if passed, there be a ceremonial signing of the resolution at the parking lot on Third and Bush Street, the site where Chinatown once stood.
Councilman David Peñaloza offered support for the apology and a ceremonial signing.
“It’s a sad, sad chapter in this city’s history,” he said. “We need to recognize the mistake that was made by previous leadership here.”
The burning down of Chinatown wasn’t the last time disease provided cover for discrimination in Santa Ana.
Less than two weeks after the Chinatown blaze, Ye was found dead inside his quarantine tent.
Before that, Councilman John Cubbon resigned from his post on May 28, 1906. The Times reported that he voted to authorize the burning down of Chinatown only after “considerable wrangling” and though there wasn’t an official explanation given, “reliable sources” placed that decision as the reason for his sudden resignation.
For Woo, the current council’s discussion this week marked a significant step toward making amends long overdue.
“The people’s democracy was used against Chinese Americans,” he said. “That deserves an apology. The lives of over 200 Chinese immigrants were affected by that decision.”
Pointing to a clip from a March 2020 episode of “The View,” in which McCain said she had no problem with then-President Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” the British comedian said McCain’s post was “a fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact.”
“But there has to be an understanding that saying, ‘I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus’ is very much giving space for that hate to grow,” Oliver added.
His segment prompted McCain to issue a statement Monday morning.
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community,” she wrote in a message shared on Twitter. “There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”
After an official described the Atlanta shooter’s decision to kill eight people as “a really bad day for him,” McCain again took to Twitter. “You know who it was also a bad day for?” she wrote March 17. “The eight people and their families who this man killed!”
“Stop giving radicalized white men different allowances than any of us would have,” McCain added. “When I have a bad day, I eat ice cream and watch Tommy Boy, not gun down innocent people. Bulls—!”
“For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen,” Oh said at Saturday’s demonstration in Pittsburgh.
Social media users are calling for the removal of Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief after her anti-Asian tweets from as early as 2011 resurfaced.
Alexi McCammond, who was most recently a reporter for Axios, will take on the editorial role from March 24, according to publisher Condé Nast.
“Alexi has the powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders,” Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast, said in a news release on Thursday.
“Her interest in fashion, wellness and important issues in the lives of the Teen Vogue audience and broad knowledge of business leaders, elected officials, influencers, photographers and filmmakers is unrivaled, and I’m so very pleased that she will be bringing her expertise and talents to our team.”
Following the announcement, several Instagram users brought up some of McCammond’s racist tweets from 2011 and 2012.
“Outdone by Asian,” she wrote in one tweet, adding the hashtag “#whatsnew.”
Diana Tsui, editorial director of restaurant guide The Infatuation, described McCammond as a “questionable hire” in an Instagram post. She mentioned that Condé Nast should have addressed McCammond’s problematic past, especially since her appointment comes amid a rise in anti-Asian violence across the country.
“Maybe we can give her some benefit of the doubt as these were done when she was still a student,” Tsui wrote. “But her ‘apology,’ which was only after people caught them in 2019, referred to them as ‘deeply insensitive.’ They are insensitive, they are racist.”
“Teen Vogue has positioned itself as a champion of inclusiveness and empowerment.Is this truly a leader who also embodies these beliefs?” Tsui asks. “Would a leader pre-emptively acknowledge the hurt caused by past actions with a future plan of action, or would a leader just ignore it and hope no one does a Google search?”
Stephen Alain Ko, a cosmetic and skincare formulator who has featured Teen Vogue articles in his website’s #BeautyRecap series, also criticized McCammond’s appointment on Instagram: “Condé Nast, this is not the fashion, beauty or political leadership we deserve… In 2021, I would be disappointed in a magazine that I contributed free labour to — for making a decision that pushed me back into the margins.”
Writer Arabelle Sicardi also took a jab at Condé Nast. “It’s like they want to fail into obsolescence,” she wrote in an Instagram Story.
Sicardi, who has contributed to Teen Vogue, went on to highlight the prevalence of anti-Asian sentiment in the fashion and media industry. She described McCammond’s hiring as “an affirmation of white supremacy.”
“It is a distinct lack of care for the Asian employees and other people of color that will have to work under new management.”
Some Asian American community leaders say Elaine Chao’s resignation as transportation secretary after the riot at the U.S. Capitol is inadequate after years of harm to marginalized groups and the immigrant community — of which she is a part.
Chao, who officially left her role Monday, is one of the few Asian American immigrants to have ascended to such heights in government. But activists say she leaves behind a legacy of complicity with anti-immigrant, racist policies as a loyal Trump administration official.
Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the social services nonprofit Asian American Federation, said that at this point, regardless of her exit, “damage has been done” to her reputation and credibility.
“Elaine Chao was complicit in creating a politics of toxicity and cynicism. Her decision can only be seen in that context,” Yoo said. “Her dissent was needed when Trump degraded, ostracized and isolated the Asian American community with his Covid-19 misinformation and outright racism or in any of the instances when Trump sought to hurt immigrants like herself.”
Chao, who said in her resignation statement that the violence at the Capitol last week had “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside,” previously made history as the first Asian American woman to hold a Cabinet position. She hasn’t been afraid of opening up about her immigrant roots and her difficult early years in America. Chao, 67, came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was 8 years old, speaking no English.
“I think you will understand when I say that our initial years in America were very challenging,” Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told the newly naturalized citizens. “We didn’t speak English, had no family or friends here, couldn’t get used to the food nor understand the customs here.”
Her rise from her immigrant roots has made her a role model for some Asian American families. In an interview with CNN in 2017, Chao said that those from the community would show up anywhere, from public events to the airport, to greet her and that she would feel an “instant bond.” Activists say her actions have proven anything but supportive to immigrant communities.
Chao came under fire several times during Trump’s tenure for staying silent as he tried to institute hard-line immigration policies. In 2017, several Asian American organizations called on Chao to oppose Trump’s termination of the Temporary Protected Status programs for several countries, including Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti. Temporary Protected Status is typically given to countries where conditions prevent nationals from returning.
They also demanded that she speak out against Trump’s attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that year.
While the majority of so-called Dreamers hail from Latin America, about 16,000 undocumented Asian youths are protected under the act. And Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic of undocumented immigrants, their population tripling from 2000 to 2015. Chao, however, was mum about the subject.
She also remained silent about Trump’s public charge rule, which denies immigrants residency if they are deemed likely to need public assistance, among other controversial policies. More than 941,000 recent green card holders would have fallen under the rule had it been in effect when they applied, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit policy organization. Of those, 300,000 are from Asian countries.
But Chao possibly drew the most criticism for migrant family separation. While she did not comment on her stance, she did fire back at protesters at Georgetown University who confronted her and McConnell about the policy in 2018 and asked, “Why are you separating families?”
Chao shouted back, “Leave my husband alone,” winning praise among conservatives.
“She effectively colluded with the Trump administration in increasing the separation of our families and rescinding of the DACA program, denying access to public benefits and much more,” said Becky Belcore, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, an advocacy organization that was among the groups that previously called on Chao to speak out against the immigration crackdowns.
“Chao was in a position of power that she could have leveraged to support the most marginalized members of our community,” Belcore said. “Instead, she was often seen standing next to Trump as he signed anti-immigrant policies into law.”
Advocates also said that in a particularly damning moment, Chao, a woman of color, stood by Trump at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York City as he neglected to call out hate groups and claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides” after white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
While her husband, McConnell, had been feuding with Trump at the time, Chao told reporters at the news conference that she stood “by my man — both of them.” While it’s unclear whether Chao actively supported Trump or was required to do so in the moment as a Cabinet member, John C. Yang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said he believes her inaction had consequences.
“President Trump’s statement following the events in Charlottesville were reprehensible,” Yang said. “It is clear that his remarks were building to the insurrection we saw on Wednesday, and the failure of those around him to call out his behavior emboldened him. It is irresponsible and unconscionable for a sitting president of the United States to not only condone but to incite the behavior of people who are only concerned with holding on to white supremacist power.”
Belcore said she felt that Chao, who also served in a Cabinet position as labor secretary under former President George W. Bush, did not sufficiently protect vulnerable workers, including immigrants. But Yang said he felt that Trump’s “racism and xenophobia is toxic and dangerous, at a level not seen in recent presidencies,” taking more precedence compared to the Bush administration. He said that while immigrants and people of color were “under constant attack in dangerous ways” during Trump’s tenure, Chao was in a position in which she could have stood up more for marginalized people. He said it was “disappointing that she did not do so publicly.”
Yang acknowledged that Chao’s ascendance to a Cabinet position as an Asian American, a member of a community that continues to struggle with representation in the political sphere, was an accomplishment, but he said that doesn’t mean her conduct represented the community well. He said, moreover, that as Chao painted herself as a hard-working immigrant while supporting the administration’s anti-immigrant policies, she fed into the “good immigrant versus bad immigrant” myth.
A woman shopping in Orange County, California has become the latest target of anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident, which was caught on video, reportedly occurred outside a Sephora store at The Market Place in Tustin and Irvine.
In the video posted on Instagram and Reddit, a man can be seen hurling anti-Asian racial slurs while a female companion sarcastically says “bye” to the camera.
The man has since reportedly been identified as Brian Kranz, a fitness instructor in Irvine, California who runs Red Fitness. His female partner—who is seen smirking throughout the incident and even smugly taunts the victim with a “bye”—has been identified as Janelle Hinshaw.
The Asian woman reportedly recalled how the incident started inside the store after the staff asked the pair to wear face masks.
“These people were standing after me in the line at Sephora. They didn’t have masks on before the staff requested so. But then [they] refused to keep social distancing from me. Sephora staff was doing a good job directing me to stand in another line,” a Nextdoor user, who claims to be the woman behind the camera, wrote.
The woman eventually finished shopping and returned to her car. That’s when Kranz followed and began making racist remarks.
“Why don’t you stay at home? Are you that dumb? You want to photograph me?” he says before charging toward the woman, who then retreats in her car.
“Exactly! Get in your car, stupid g**k. Go back to f**king [unintelligible].”
Brian Kranz returns to his Jeep and continues his tirade before driving away.
“Are you really that stupid? You know that recording doesn’t do anything,” he tells the woman. “Stay home. And thanks for giving my country COVID. Have a great day.”
Kranz is a trainer licensed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and many on social media called for his license to be revoked. Many also tagged Hinshaw’s current masters’ program at Azusa Pacific University to revoke her license as a psychologist working with teens.
Given both Kranz and Hinshaw’s work requires working with the public at large, it was of concern to many how they would treat their clients of Asian descent.
The backlash has been immense. After reportedly deactivating their LinkedIn and Instagram pages, they faced backlash on other platforms.