Nyx Professional Makeup is bringing LGBTQIA+ representation into the metaverse.
As part of its second year of Pride activations throughout June, Nyx will sell a series of 8,430 digital NFT avatars at auction, which can be used on The Sandbox metaverse platform. People can purchase a Nyx NFT starting on June 16 for a yet-to-be-determined price of less than $100 via NFT marketplace Opensea. Nyx Professional Makeup will be the first cosmetics brand integrated into The Sandbox, which Gucci joined in February.
Nyx’s avatar collection offers 36 skin shades, inspired by the brand’s diverse foundation shade range. Furthermore, the 8,430 NFT avatars represent 84.3% of the population representing BIPOC communities and LGBTQIA+ people. All proceeds from the auction of the NFT avatar sales will go to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. People can then use avatars in The Sandbox by connecting them to their crypto wallets.
“We believe that makeup looks will be pretty different in the metaverse. The way we show up should also be different,” said Vivianna Blanch, head of U.S. marketing for Nyx Professional Makeup. “But the one consistent and pervasive thing is focusing on our brand DNA, and we’ve always stood for quality, diversity and self-expression. That’s how we will show up in this metaverse environment.”
Because the metaverse concept is new, and more like an archipelago of different metaverse platforms than a singular place, it can be hard to understand the current pool of diversity. According to a March 2022 survey from Morning Consult, 18% of U.S. adult men are “very interested” in the metaverse, compared to 7% of women. When it comes to interest broken down by race, 17% of Black people are “very interested,” compared to 20% of Hispanic people and 12% of White people — a promising start. The survey did not take into account sexuality or gender identity. Elsewhere, the Cryptographic Blockchain Industries announced a new metaverse space in late May as “the first metaverse by and for the LGBTQ community.” It will be released in 2023 and is called Qtopia.
This activation is not Nyx’s first foray into the metaverse, given its relationship with NFTs and the virtual Crypto Fashion Week back in Sept. 2021. Still, it represents the need for beauty brands to find ways to stick out among dozens of metaverse activations and to ensure representation parity as the metaverse scales.
“The LGBTQIA+ community is a driving force in so many ways. We are evolving our allyship to bring self-expression and diverse representation into the metaverse,” said Yasmin Dastmalchi, gm for Nyx Professional Makeup.
Owners of the avatars will be able to customize their gender identity and sexual orientation. Avatars will wear makeup looks inspired by Nyx cosmetics. Avatars also appear voxelized, a three-dimensional version of pixelated, and represent the rainbow colors of the Pride flag. Nyx Cosmetics worked with Web3 creative and innovation lab People of Crypto to develop the NFTs.
“Web3 allows us to elevate the artists, technologists and creators who build it,” said Blanch. “Just like you’re able to play and develop self-expression and artistic expression with makeup in the real world, we’re now allowing you to do that in this new [metaverse] world. You can create imaginative looks, just like you do in the real world.”
The metaverse NFT avatars are not Nyx’s only Pride activation for Nyx in June; there will be real-life activations in Los Angeles, including a live mural painting from artist Seth Bogart and a drag show. Like many other brands, Nyx is offering a limited-edition Pride collection is available online and in-store.