EXCLUSIVE: Adriana Lima and Lifetime Aim to Break Beauty Industry Boundaries With ‘American Beauty Star’

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Get ready to see a whole new side of the beauty industry.

ET was on set of Lifetime’s American Beauty Star -- a new competition series that aims do for hair and makeup artists what Project Runway has done for fashion designers -- with host Adriana Lima, contestant mentor Sir John (Beyonce’s personal makeup artist!), and judge Sarah Brown, Vogue contributing editor, to find out why it took until 2017 to make a show like this happen.

“This is such an exciting time for beauty,” Brown gushes. “What's been amazing in the last year or two is that we've seen the definition of beauty expand, to be so much more inclusive than it ever has been.”

“Right now, the conversation is so broad and includes every gender, every ethnicity, every type of person, every everything,” she continues. “There's just room for everyone, and makeup brands are getting on board with that, the modeling agencies. Everything is changing, and so this show is at the perfect time [to] capture that moment of inclusion and this expanding definition of beauty.”

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Brown describes the show as “boundary-breaking,” and Sir John notes social media has totally changed the game.

“From Harlem to Hong Kong, you can hashtag any popular lipstick shade, or hairspray, and you'll see a mosaic of women wearing hijab, or one is in Ireland, one is in Korea, getting ready for a date night, or in Dubai,” he says. “You didn't see that years prior. So, I love that that's happening, and we're on a path to see a huge shift or turn of beauty, and if we're at the top of the roller coaster, it's just a really good ride to be a part of.”

The cast promises the 12 contestants are taking beauty places viewers won’t expect, surprising even them week after week.

“We're seeing incredible transformations,” Brown shares. “Attitudes change … I think that men will be watching, too ... boys and men [can find] something for themselves in beauty, whether they wanted to do it to someone else or they want to put it on their own face, and we're at this great moment right now, culturally, you know, where that's becoming acceptable, which is a huge leap, you know?”

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“What I love about this show so much is that it's showing what is behind the creativity process,” Lima jumps in. “The positive, the nervousness, the struggles, and overcoming the struggles. It's so beautiful to see someone grow in so many different ways, and that's what you'll be watching at home.”

“When you look at beauty, as a whole, there's an emotional connection that happens with the viewer,” John adds, explaining what sets the show apart from shows like Project Runway or Top Chef.

“There's an emotional connection that happens with a woman and her mirror,” he continues. “If you've ever given a cancer survivor a new way to ... fill in her eyebrows in a way she hasn't prior, that emotional thing that happens, that lore is something you can't imitate with fashion or [other] programs that have come prior. So hopefully viewers can connect in a very personal way, as well.”

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“Beauty has everything to do with a woman's personal journey, and it has to do with you know, who she wants to be,” he adds. “It's armor. It's an arsenal, at the end of the day … it changes your sense of well-being and give you a sense of pride in yourself.”

But don’t worry -- the show still delivers the drama you’ve come to expect from reality TV.

“It's emotional,” Brown teases. “There's backbiting … every element that goes into a really fun TV show is in this show, and then the thing that's really cool is, it's totally real.”

“It's important for this to be socially relevant,” she wraps up. “If we did a show about who does the best smokey eye, I don't want to watch that show.”

American Beauty Star premieres Thursday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 p.m. ET. Check out the video below for more with Lima.