Maya's the host of BBC3's Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star and she could teach the world a masterclass in how to stay positive and resilient
Glow Up star Maya Jama kicks off our spring campaign, The Power Of Beauty, at Marie Claire UK. Stay tuned throughout the month of May as we celebrate the transformative power of beauty and champion the industry we love.
If we could bottle Maya Jama's positivity and energy, then hand it out free on the NHS, the world would be a lot less stressed and happy shiny people would glow forward and prosper. We simply can't get enough of the 26-year-old TV and radio presenter - and she's fast becoming a household name, taking over from Stacey Dooley to host the third series of BBC Three’s Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star.
The feel-good BBC show couldn’t have come at a better time. It shines a much-need spotlight on the beauty industry (which suffered so heavily under three lockdowns and Covid restrictions), while giving us something to get excited about as we enjoy the giddy experience of IRL hair and beauty treatments and shopping in actual shops.
Glow Up host Maya Jama was the obvious choice as Marie Claire's new cover star. You can read her candid, emotional and yet still frankly hilarious interview with Marie Claire's Sophie Goddard here. Look out for our celebration of all things beauty this month as we launch our Power of Beauty campaign championing the industry we love.
We're rejoicing at the reopening of the hair and beauty industry and championing just how essential this often side lined industry really is.
Over on social media, we tasked Maya with giving us her lockdown advice for re-entering society, and from dinner party etiquette and dressing to impress to getting in a lift again, these videos are a must-watch.
With super servings of hope and inspiration for everyone, there's no one better than Maya to help us navigate this post-Covid world...
Maya's masterclass in positivity
1. Follow your dreams
"For people that haven't been following me for long, they probably think, 'What does this girl actually do, she's all over the place!' Why, if you don't have to stay in one lane, would you? Follow all your dreams, do your passion projects and if they work out, they work out. If they don’t, they don’t. That’s how I looked at it. We’ve got the platform, let’s do it."
2. Rise above the negativity
"Nowadays, there's a lot more discussion around 'Be kind', but when I was 18 there wasn't any of this talk. When I started doing proper telly jobs, suddenly there were people who didn't choose to see me but had to because I was on their platform. That’s when I started noticing negative comments.
Someone called me 'Michael Jackson nose' once. I’d never ever thought about my nose before, but after that I was in the mirror for a week, thinking, 'Does it look like Michael Jackson’s?' Now I can have a laugh about it because I'm used to it. Plus, luckily nobody's ever said anything horrible to my face. Now I can see online comments and be rational about negativity. I try to remember the person saying negative things probably wouldn't say it to my face. These people are probably not happy because happy people don't attack strangers online."
3. Laughter is the best medicine
"Maybe this is just my approach to life, but anything that seems tragic or could make people feel sorry for me, I make a joke out of. I guess it’s because I’m OK with it. I’ve accepted it and don’t want anyone making me think they feel sorry for me. If people said, 'Where’s your dad?' I’d say, 'Oh, he's in jail' and I’d laugh about it. I was never a person who sat at home and cried about things out of my control."
4. Fight against inequality
"When I was starting out and interviewed by the press in the early days, people would ask, 'Do you notice sexism in the workplace?' I'd reply, 'No, not at all, I get treated exactly the same as my co-hosts.' It didn't take me long to find out that many were being paid more than me for doing exactly the same job. Companies and channels have to make more of an effort to make everything equal now but back then it wasn't like that.
"I'd ask a male co-host directly, 'How much are you getting paid for this?' Good friends like Will Best, I definitely asked. I haven't asked anyone recently but if I thought it was going to be complete landslide and we were doing the same job, I’d ask, why not? In some cases, there's someone with a bigger platform and that makes sense. But when the only difference is your sex and somebody’s getting paid differently? It’s not OK."
5. Surround yourself with the right people
"When I was ten, my mum met my step-dad, and he is the loveliest man. So I was lucky to see what a healthy and loving relationship should be. The problem for many young women growing up without a dad around is not seeing this in their homes. My Dad wasn't around, but I had all the love I needed from elsewhere. Every woman in my family is super strong and a go-getter. Because my mum used to babysit boys in our neighbourhood, I had older boys who would look out for me. If they saw me out, they’d say, 'Maya, we're dropping you home'."
6. Life’s hard but you’ve got this
"I want to get out - see things. Not 'find myself' because I know myself, but do something outside of everything I’ve been doing. Anything that allows me to grow in other ways. Life's hard, but we can have a nice time. I believe the energy you put out, you get back."
* BBC Three’s Glow Up is streaming now on BBC iPlayer, with new episodes at 7pm every Tuesday
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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