Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Watch Delaware’s ‘STEM Queen’ on Essence’s ‘Girls United’ web series

Jacqueline Means spent part of her 2020 helping to develop a new line of cosmetics for Ulta.

Jacqueline Means.

(Courtesy photo)

Jacqueline Means, the 17-year-old “STEM Queen” and Miss Delaware’s 2019 Outstanding Teen, is in the spotlight again.

Essence and Ulta’s “Girls United” features a group of young Black women from a variety of backgrounds learning the ropes of the beauty industry while developing a new line of cosmetics. The web series’ second season just dropped, and Means is one of the six included.

Means, who is a regular on the CBS Saturday morning educational show “Mission Unstoppable” and has appeared on “Access Hollywood” and “The View,” was selected to be one of the six season-two teens in late 2019, but was only able to make the announcement this week.

Season two of “Girls United” started filming before the pandemic, allowing the girls to spend time together before they had to go virtual for the last couple of episodes.

“[The first week] they flew the six of us out to Chicago, which was so much fun — all of the girls were so excited to try deep dish pizza — and we got to talk to a few execs at Ulta and Essence,” Means told Technical.ly. “We would meet up, film, meet some executives. And then we’d go home and they’d continue to send us slides and samples, and when we came back, we would brainstorm all of the ideas we had at home.”

They also met up in New York City three times before COVID-19 hit and everything switched to virtual.

“Of course it wasn’t the same,” she said, “but it was really nice to see them, and they still sent out the samples so we could still touch it and feel it and say ‘We want more pigment here’ or ‘You can up the scent in this one.’ We could still be hands on.”

The project wound up being a lot more like a TV show than Means expected, she said.

“I didn’t even know they were going to be filming at first,” she said. “We even did challenges, which was so much more than I expected. It was not just about makeup, it was about marketing and branding and pitching. It’s given me life skills that I can apply for the the rest of my life.”

Watch the series

The product they developed will be in ULTA stores nationally around the end of January, along with displays of the six of them in stores nationwide.

“I think that’s amazing, because in this industry that’s only just now starting to consider Black women, I get to be a part of the organizations that are at the forefront of making these strides,” Means said.

In her application video, Means says she talked about STEM and wanting to learn the science behind the makeup. Means’ advice to girls interested in applying for a similar opportunity is to be the person you’re most comfortable being. (Girls United is currently accepting applications for ambassadors.)

“The [selected] girls are very diverse,” she said. “There’s me, one girl is a rapper from Boston, another girl who is Muslim. It was cool to see so much diversity just among us six Black girls.”

Means took her mother’s advice when applying: “There’s no need to up your personality and make it seem bigger than it is or minimize it to try and fit someone else’s definition of perfection — which, by the way, does not exist — but just be yourself because there’s no better version of yourself that you at your most comfortable.”

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