Maya Jama talks make-up must-haves, DIY beauty hacks and diversity

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Jacqueline Kilikita
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Stylist gets the beauty lowdown from Maya Jama, the face of Maybelline’s Fit Me Foundation, which now boasts a brilliant 35 shades…

For a lot of women, finding a foundation that matches their skintone on the high-street is no mean feat.

A lot of the time, colour ranges simply aren’t diverse enough, which often results in us having to spend a lot more money, time and energy just to hunt down the perfect shade.

But it looks like that might be about to change.

Maybelline have unveiled their make-up artist approved Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation in an impressive 35 shades, making it one of the most inclusive foundations to hit the high-street. TV and BBC Radio 1 presenter, Maya Jama, is one of a handful of famous faces to front the new campaign.

Here’s what happened when Stylist caught up with the woman of the moment herself. 

Maya Jama joins model Jourdan Dunn and other famous faces in Maybelline’s Fit Me campaign

Was it scary to shoot such a big campaign? What are your tips for being confident in front of the camera?

It can be nerve-wracking sometimes, especially if the shoot is a really big deal and everyone is going to see it, but I’d say be completely yourself. Practise poses in the mirror. I like music in the background, always try to have a laugh and try not to take things too seriously. A nice vibe in the room always helps.

Talking of not taking yourself too seriously, we love you on Instagram!

I try not to analyse my pictures too much. I just take a picture and put it up!

You’re big on skincare – can you talk us through your routine?

I’m all about night creams. I’m quite oily and for years I thought that people with oily skin didn’t need creams, but that’s not the case. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’ve learnt that you’re supposed to use cream otherwise your skin can overcompensate with loads of oil. The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £38, is great and I use it at night. My other go-to products are the Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seen Energising Radiance Masque, £34 because it’s great at exfoliating. I also like Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Masks, £17 and Gold Collagen Hydrogel Face Masks, £19. I vary between sheet masks but they all do a good job of adding moisture. 

You’re always in the air – do you bring any beauty products on board flights?

I can’t remember the first time I took my skincare onboard a flight with me but I was flying economy and was sitting amongst a row of people all wearing sheet masks. You lose so much moisture on a flight, so why not keep it in your face with a mask? I get dodgy looks when I’m walking to the bathroom with a huge sheet on my face, but I have no shame.

Do you ever have bad skin days?

I sometimes have really bad days! When I eat sugar, I break out. I’ve been mixing raw apple cider vinegar with water and applying it to my spots with a cotton bud and they’ve gone down a lot, but it stinks the house out. I did my research online and so many people have said that it’s a good remedy, so I thought I’d give it a try.

You’re always in front of the camera – have you learnt any clever beauty tips from make-up artists?

I always wear an eye mask before make-up. Concealers are also my go-to. I’m the concealer queen, and I’m also an eyeliner fiend and always need it. If I’m tired I always reach for eyeliner – white eyeliner in the waterline and black liquid eyeliner on the top – it brightens my eyes and makes me look more awake. Mascara is lovely but eyeliner is the way forward. 

Maya Jama for Stylist

Maya Jama

Do you ever do your own make-up before events and appearances?

Yeah, I do and I’m alright at it! [laughs] I have my make-up artist for shoots and if I ever get super-rich, I would literally buy her a house next to mine so she could do my make-up every day. I’m not great with eyeshadow and can’t blend it that well but I love it. Haphazard is probably best. Just put your fingertips in the palette and wing it around! I’m always learning more skills.

How do you take care of your naturally curly hair? Are there any products you swear by?

I have quite loose curls and I straighten my hair way more than I should, but for some reason, my hair is curlier in the summer and it looks better so I don’t straighten it as much then. I use a leave-in conditioner, like Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist, £4.99, but I also do my own little home-remedies. I mix olive oil, eggs and manuka honey, warm it in the microwave, and paste it on like a hair mask. I put a plastic bag over to keep moisture in and leave it for an hour or two. I’ve been doing it for years and it gives me soft, shiny hair.

What three beauty products can’t you live without?

The Fit Me foundation – you always need a foundation – and concealer. I put it under my eyes and layer it over scars and spots, too. And dry shampoo! My hair is quite thin and gets greasy quickly, so I feel like I have to wash it all the time – probably because I touch it so much.

Maybelline’s new Fit Me Foundation boasts 35 shades

You’ve become super-successful very quickly – what advice would you give to someone looking to succeed in the same industry?

My advice would be: Be persistent. You have to do loads of free work, which might feel never-ending and draining, but constantly remind yourself that nobody got a job overnight. Good things come to those who put in work, not those that sit around and cancel.

How did you get people to take you seriously as a young woman in such a competitive industry?

I was super-headstrong when I was younger. I knew what I wanted to do and nobody could stop me. I used to prove people wrong by showing them that I could do the job well – better than people that had trained for ages – so I didn’t like it when people judged me by my age or gender. I feel about 45 now, well beyond my years!

Why did you say yes to being involved in the Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation campaign?

I’ve literally worn Maybelline most of my make-up wearing life and I love the brand. It’s incredible and represents all the things I love, especially unity - there are 35 shades. Where else on the high street can you find a foundation that has so many colours?

It’s so important that high-street brands cater to a diverse range of skin tones – do you think more needs to be done in beauty?

Now, more than ever, it’s easier to find foundation. Back in the day I never used to wear it because I couldn’t find the right match. Everybody should have a choice of shades, because at the end of the day, we’re all different colours.

What do you like most about the Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation?

I like that it completely matches me. It stays on all day and gives a clean finish. A lot of foundations look a bit heavy on me but this one doesn’t, and it conceals my pores. I get massive pores sometimes! 

Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation is £6.99 and available at Superdrug.

Images: Maybelline