These influencers are challenging beauty standards and industry norms

·4 min read

These beauty influencers are showing there’s a lot more to makeup, hair and fashion than just serving fierce looks.

Nyma Tang, Manny MUA, Brad Mondo, Amanda Steele and Leah Vernon couldn’t be more different at first glance. But they each share a similar goal: To shake up the industry by challenging beauty standards and norms.

Nyma Tang

Nyma Tang is an advocate for inclusivity in the beauty industry. When Tang fell in love with beauty, she noticed that drug store makeup aisles had little to offer someone with her complexion. So she decided to change how the industry sees beauty altogether.

“This isn’t just about makeup, it’s about normalizing and sharing my beauty with the world so that they can also feel as beautiful as I started feeling about myself,” Tang told In The Know.

With 1.32 million YouTube subscribers, her impact is definitely being felt in the community.

“I think the biggest impact that I’ve already had is the messages that I get daily that ‘Oh wow I didn’t know that someone that looked like me was allowed to be as confident as you are. Now you’ve made me love my skin tone and you’ve made me love myself,'” she said.

Amanda Steele

Amanda Steele is a YouTuber and owner of the fashion brand STEELE. You might call her a makeup prodigy too. Steele started her channel when she was 11 years old. Today she’s 21 and her channel has over 2.6 million subscribers.

“I hope my content inspires people to go after what they want,” Steele told In The Know. “That anything is possible. I want them to just feel confident. Being there for the girls that feel like they don’t belong.”

Manny MUA

Manny MUA wants to bring authenticity to the beauty space. He was the first man to snag a Maybelline campaign and featured on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list. He has 4.87 million YouTube subscribers.

“When I started I felt like I wanted to treat YouTube as my diary or as my journal,” Manny told In the Know. “Just kind of be who I am. By doing so in an authentic way it resonates with other people and it really does make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Brad Mondo

Brad Mondo is a hairdresser, founder of XMONDO and an influencer. His 7.6 million TikTok followers enjoy Mondo’s ability to make self-expression look like fun.

“I think my content really resonates with viewers because it makes them feel like they’re my best friend. I like to film them as if I’m talking to one person,” Mondo told In The Know.

But his goal isn’t just to be a comfort. Mondo grew up seeing the same old “white women with beautiful hair” in ads. He wanted to bring diversity and even a little punk attitude to the haircare space.

“If I can inspire one person out there to accomplish their dreams and live their most extra life, can wear whatever they want, be whoever they want and have their hair however they want. That is what makes me excited to go to work every day and keep doing what I do,” he said.

Leah Vernon

Leah Vernon is a Hijabi model, author, influencer and body positivity activist. Her memoir Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black, Muslim is about her journey of self-love and the numerous obstacles she faced along the way.

“I had never seen plus-size women living their best life, traveling, getting paid to take pictures. I never saw that before so I think at that moment I’m like, wow, this is a whole new world. Maybe I can pursue modeling. Maybe I can pursue blogging,” Vernon told In The Know.

Vernon believes she is already “doing the impossible” and just wants to see how much further she can go.

“What other rooms and products am I working with that no other fat, Black, Muslim has ever been in?” she said. “I feel like I just want to be a mogul like Oprah and do it all. I think the most important thing is to know your worth and then double it.”

This lipstick reacts to your skin tone to become the perfect shade for you:

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If you liked this story, check out Kulfi Beauty, which makes inclusive products for South Asian people.

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