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It’s no secret there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in the beauty and fashion worlds. While some of that inspiration can be found in the form of the latest fashion and beauty trends, over the last few years, more and more of it has started to come from the influencers we follow on social media. Maria Alia is a prime example of that, as an influencer who has become a role model for minorities who lack representation in the beauty and fashion industries (and shared amazing outfits in the process). With her authentic persona and distinct style, it’s no wonder Maria has gained quite the following. As a member of the 2019 L’Oréal League—L’Oréal Paris’ influencer ambassador program—Maria sat down with us to share an inside look into her life, sharing everything from career advice to product must-haves to favorites pastimes.
Maria’s journey into the world of fashion was a long time coming, with a start back in 2012. “I started blogging as a little passion project. It was just my creative escape as I studied marketing at University,” she shares.
That passion project eventually turned into something more as she began organically growing an engaged audience of people who enjoyed her style and life. After graduating college, Maria headed to New York City in pursuit of a career in the fashion industry. “I started off doing digital strategy and project management at a fashion PR firm and then went on to work as a full-time freelance creative and model a year and a half later,” she explains.
While Maria has gained quite the following, she isn’t done just yet. What’s next? She hopes to expand her work to cover more of her passions, including writing and styling. “My end-goal is to create an incredible brand that I can put 100% of my creativity and energy into,” she says.
Being half Palestinian and half Puerto Rican, Maria is deeply rooted in her ethnicity. “My identity is largely what has sparked my career as an ‘influencer’ and public person in the industry,” she shares.
As a minority, Maria serves as an inspiration for those who don’t see themselves represented in fashion or beauty. She aims to represent those who dress a little different, have a different skin tone, or come from a different culture than the majority. “It’s easy to compare yourself to what you see around you the most. It can make a young girl question her identity or feel the need to be something she's not just to fit in,” she explains.
Whether you want to work in beauty or become an influencer, Maria has the same words of advice: Have a strong point of view and something authentic to bring to the table. “It's all about authenticity and a unique point-of-view. There are tons of formulas you could follow to become ‘successful,’ but success will be fleeting if it's not authentic and uniquely personal,” she shares.
Maria finds inspiration for beauty and fashion in more than one place. The incredibly stylish women in her life as well as traveling and experiencing different cultures are two sources she notes.
As a fashion influencer, Maria defines the term “modest fashion” as dressing in a way that she feels most comfortable and like herself while simultaneously respecting her beliefs and culture. “Over the years, I think my style has become a lot more refined and elevated,” she says.
When it comes to current fashion trends she’s loving at the moment, square toe shoes are at the top of her list. So chic!
As for beauty, there’s one beauty tip she will never forget—or neglect. What’s that? Wearing sunscreen every day! Another of her top tips is to always do your makeup in natural lighting.
As far what’s trending right now, she’s all about the eye makeup. “I’m loving glossy lids and am also living for a bold, black cat eye,” she says. On the flipside, there are a few trends Maria is not-so fond of. “I'm really over-exaggerated false lashes and the ultra-contoured and highlighted YouTube beauty look,” she explains.
Maria keeps her skin care routine consistent and fluid. “I stick to non-fragranced products and use the same ones weekly or daily,” she says. A few staple products in her regimen? A gentle cleanser, an alcohol-free toner or essence, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum, retinoids, cream moisturizers, eye cream, hydrating mists, and sunscreen.
Of course, Maria has a few beauty favorites from L’Oréal Paris. “My favorite products right now are the Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Freshwear Foundation, and the Voluminous Original Mascara,” she shares.
There’s no denying the importance of self-care. “Apart from the typical physical self-care, I really like to practice self-care by being kind to myself. I try not to ever compare myself to others and to appreciate me for me,” Maria says. Sounds like something we could all learn from!
Of course, not all of her time is spent on beauty and fashion. When it comes to her favorite restaurants, Carthage Must Be Destroyed, Bar Pitti, and Bozu are on her list.
Maria also takes the time to attend her favorite workout classes. “I'm obsessed with The Session's time-based circuit training classes and Y7's hot yoga classes,” she shares.
Next up: L'Oréal Lifestyle: How Iskra Shook the Model Stereotype
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