Shayla Mitchell appears at a Wal-Mart store in Irvine, Calif., to tout Maybelline New York's Colossal Big Shot mascara.

Shayla Mitchell is all about drama, at least when it comes to her lashes.

The social-media influencer known by her handle Makeupshayla stopped by a Wal-Mart store in Irvine, Calif., last month to chat with her fans about mascara, specifically Maybelline New York’s Colossal Big Shot. The $8.49 product, expected to be the L’Oréal-owned brand’s biggest mascara launch in years, rolled out in January throughout Maybelline’s mass-market retail distribution.

“I like it to be super thick and not flakey,” Mitchell said of her mascara preferences. “My biggest thing, especially because I really coat on the mascara on my lower lashes, is if I get those little marks under my eyes. If I do, it’s a wrap. So I just look for something that doesn’t transfer and adds a lot of volume.” Not surprisingly, Mitchell’s followers are also big on a bold lash. “People love it when it looks like a fake lash,” she commented.

Along with Manny Gutierrez, aka Manny Mua, Mitchell showcases Colossal Big Shot’s ability to produce striking lashes in a video campaign for Maybelline. The campaign’s tag line is “Lash Like a Boss,” and it features Mitchell and Gutierrez undergoing a major makeup and fashion transformation in a New York hotel room.

Anne-Marie Nelson Bogle, senior vice president of marketing for Maybelline, suggested spotlighting conspicuous Instagram-ready lashes was integral to the brand’s partnership with Mitchell and Gutierrez. “Consumers today are definitely looking for not only product that is innovative, but a lash look that they can connect with,” she said. “Big Shot is really about delivering that fully loaded lash look. It’s about creating intense volume very quickly.”

Shayla Mitchell promotes Maybelline New York's Colossal Big Shot mascara.

Signage at Wal-Mart during Shayla Mitchell’s appearance shows the influencer amplifying her lashes with Colossal Big Shot. 

Mitchell’s work with Maybelline comes as she’s adjusting her social-media content to increasingly focus on beauty merchandise that’s not exorbitant. “Not everybody can buy a $70 bronzer and a $60 foundation. I’d rather use products that are a little bit more affordable that way everybody can experience them,” she said. “Before, when I was working at a [MAC Cosmetics] counter, I would get so much MAC and other high-end brands because I worked inside a Nordstrom, but now it’s more realistic to buy products that are affordable.”

Mitchell is shopping for makeup at inexpensive stores, too. “To be honest, ever since I quit MAC, I feel like I stopped going there as often. Isn’t that interesting? I almost never go to the MAC store. It’s not convenient for me,” she said. “I’d rather go to Target or Wal-Mart and pick up my hair products and then go pick up my makeup. It’s easier that way.”

Although the specialty beauty chains Sephora and Ulta Beauty have been receiving lots of attention of late for attracting color cosmetics consumers to their locations, Nelson Bogle indicated Wal-Mart, where an estimated 49 million mascaras sell annually, is a force in the beauty landscape that shouldn’t be ignored. “This is still an environment that Millennials are interested in. Our sales are great at Wal-Mart, so the consumer is definitely coming in and responding to our wall,” she said. “We have collaborated with them to ensure the consumer has the right environment to be able to learn about the products and see textures.”

As for how customers are responding to Colossal Big Shot mascara at Wal-Mart and elsewhere, Nelson Bogle called the reaction to the launch “amazing.” “Consumers are really interested to try the proposition not only for the innovation of the brush [featuring wavy bristles] that’s in the mascara, but for the overall lash look because they have been seeing so many influencers gravitating to the mascara and wearing it,” she said.

Mitchell appears to be playing a pivotal role in driving the positive response. At Wal-Mart, 34-year-old student Randee Rangel was first in line to meet Mitchell. She’d already bought Colossal Big Shot mascara and figured she probably wouldn’t have shelled out for it if Mitchell wasn’t involved. She said, “She always looks good and she does it with class, and she seems like a really nice person.”

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