Nyma Tang, a self-described influencer and ‘beauty advocate,’ is tapping into her power to influence in a new partnership with CVS. The drugstore chain has nearly 10,000 locations across the country.
Tang started working with the retailer back in 2018, around its Beauty Mark initiative — its promise to not alter physical features like weight and skin color in its marketing imagery. Now, the retailer has given her a major promotion. This week, Tang and CVS announced her as the retailer’s first-ever Beauty Inclusivity Consultant. The role puts Tang in a unique position and speaks loudly to the shifts in power that have changed the beauty industry in recent years.
In the role, Tang will work directly with CVS executives to enhance diversity in beauty aisles and in marketing. She will also conduct monthly workshops with CVS team members to educate around and further discuss diversity initiatives. Finally, Tang, being a top-tier influencer (she has over 1.5 million followers across YouTube and Instagram) with endless access to products, will also advise CVS on its assortment.
“Nyma has been a CVS partner since 2018, and we’ve been working with her in this role since early 2021,” said Andrea Harrison, vp of beauty and personal care at CVS Health. “She is helping us learn and grow, as we strive to develop a more inclusive beauty aisle and in-store experience for all customers.”
The appeal of the humble drugstore — with its lower price points, ubiquity and general accessibility — is not lost on Tang. “A lot of people start in the drugstore,” Tang said to Glossy. “Drugstores will always have a special place in my heart. When I was a college student, when I started playing with makeup and bought all my products at the drug store, I didn’t have that much money,” she said.
Years later, Tang has worked on sellout collaborations with MAC, and, just last week, introduced co-created products with Dose Of Colors. Her goal in all her partnerships is to forward inclusion and a sense of belonging for women of color, whether that’s on social media or in the aisles of their local CVS.
Tang’s star rose, in part, thanks to her popular YouTube series, “The Darkest Shade.” In it, as you might guess, she reviews a foundation range’s darkest shade. Because so many other dark-skinned women could relate to seeing the darkest shade be too light for Tang’s skin, the series resonated. Her video on L’Oréal’s True Match foundation has over 1.8 million views.
“Some people live in this world where [problems around inclusivity in beauty] are out of sight, out of mind. And it doesn’t bother you — the true effect of it — you don’t really think about it. So when I was doing ‘The Darkest Shade’ series on my YouTube channel, and I was applying this product and the foundation that didn’t work, there was no denying it,” Tang said. Now, thanks to her new role, she has an opportunity to make sure fewer people experience similar feelings of exclusion.
For Tang, there are two crucial areas where improvement must occur. One has to do with brands understanding that inclusion goes beyond having 40 shades of foundation. “OK, we’ve got 40 shades of foundation — and it’s like, ‘Let’s call it a day.’ But is your entire range inclusive? Are there [a variety of shades of] bronzers and highlighters?”
Once there are, and once retailers like CVS use their power to stock brands making inclusion a priority, brands should also adjust their marketing accordingly, said Tang. She plans to work with CVS on this, and hopes other retailers will follow suit.
“That’s what Fenty did right — marketing,” Tang said, “They marketed it to people with deeper skin tones, because they knew that they had been neglected by marketing.” Rihanna’s brand launched in 2017, the same year Tang posted her first “Darkest Shade” video. With CVS being a national retailer, Tang said, it has a lot of power in the industry, both in terms of what imagery is being seen and whether shades are being stocked evenly. “I’ve been in beauty stores where the darkest shades are only stocked online. That doesn’t make sense to me. It makes it feel like, ‘You don’t belong in this space,’” Tang said.
In the future, Tang sees herself as being at the helm of her own beauty brand. For now, she is excited about her new role and partnership with CVS. “Younger me never thought I’d be able to be in this type of position. But for me now, where I’m at in my career, it feels like the next step and the next evolution,” Tang said. “[I see] it as an opportunity to continue the important work that I’m doing.”
“If I get anything out of this, [I want it to be that] I change the way women feel when they walk into the beauty aisle,” she said. “I give them a space that feels like they belong there. Like: Someone thought about you when they created this space, and you are meant to be here.” Essentially, she said, she hopes to eliminate the triggers she experienced while shopping other retailers.