Learning to Live With Humility | Meet Shameless Maya

Author: Amani James

When Maya originally dove into YouTube, she never expected that she would have almost one million people worldwide following her beauty tips and tricks, trying out her life hacks, and sitting in on her all too real Q&A's. But if you've ever watched her videos, it's easy to see how she was able to build such a huge and loyal following. Maya has stayed committed to being unapologetically herself by living shamelessly and encouraging others to do the same. Her YouTube channel stands apart from many, as she openly discusses touchy subjects surrounding religion, sexuality, social issues, and more. Read our interview with Shameless Maya, and see how sharing her life with the world has changed her for the better.

You are a force to be reckoned with on YouTube and your story is very unique. Who is Shameless Maya today?
When I started YouTube 5 years ago, I was just trying to be shameless. Today, I am shameless in who I am and where I’ve come from. It took time to gain the confidence to be me and celebrate that with millions of people on the internet.

A milestone in your career was the opportunity to work with the late Prince. How did working as his photographer change you and your career?
Working with Prince was one of those once in a lifetime stories you see sketches about -- random and awesome at the same time. Random, because it’s PRINCE and he found me through my YouTube channel and discovered my photography site that I don’t even promote. Awesome, because Prince himself is an artist vibrating on another frequency and we were able to collaborate on several projects. He changed my perspective in terms of doing more collaborations with fellow artists. He was constantly creating at Paisley Park with artists he flew in from all over the globe. His dedication to mentoring and bringing artists from different walks of life is something that I take to heart. Also, seeing his dedication to the process and working around the clock validated my experiences and work habits.

Recently you announced on your channel that you have become celibate. Do you ever find it difficult to share such personal aspects of your life with a public audience?
I’ve been celibate for 4 years and I shared my experience because I saw how much of a 180 my life made a few months into the sacrifice. I guess I’m able to share with the public because I really want people to know what worked for me. It's so easy to stand on the side lines and make assumptions about how people get to where they are but I really am a geek when it comes to how to’s, whether it’s understanding your camera or your life. I’m very much an open book in real life when it comes to my own personal experiences. I do however find it complicated when it comes to sharing my family and my intimate life since I want to respect the privacy of other people.

You advocate to live a “shameless” life, but that came with time. What are some things you had to change in your life to become the confident woman you are today?
Becoming shameless really started by challenging my beliefs in all areas of my life and not just spiritually. I like to ask myself, "Why not? What would or could happen?" I had to change up what I was doing by first realizing that change comes with doing things differently. I had to believe I could do better and deserved better, but it started with my state of mind and pushing against my comfort zone daily by doing things that I may have been afraid to do. But I’m more afraid of things staying the same than I am of the unknown.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There’s so much advice I’ve received that I can’t think of one. But my advice for others would be lead with love and live like it’s your last go.

“...it started with my state of mind and pushing against my comfort zone daily by doing things that I may have been afraid to do. But I’m more afraid of things staying the same than I am of the unknown."

You’ve built a team of wonderful women to work for you at House of Shameless. How important was it to build a team of inspiring creatives, specifically of women?
Creative is key! I was on the hunt for people who understood me, my creativity, and what I was trying to communicate, and they mainly came in the form of women. I wasn’t looking specifically for women at first, I was just looking for who best understood and now I have a production team of five women. But it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge my first stand out creative Tyler, an amazing editor who is a fabulous 6’4 male unicorn who I adore. My members of my team reflect some aspect of me whether it’s understanding the story, cool graphics, dope music, organization, efficiency, strategy; there’s so much that goes into a well-rounded team.

We are living for your loft and it's sick wall mural. Where are some your favorite home decor places to shop for colorful pieces?
My loft is major thanks to Mr. Kate who revamped my living room. But I’ve found some of my favorite pieces at markets both here in LA and abroad. Melrose Trading Post and Craigslist are where it’s at.

If there’s anything you could tell Maya from 10 years ago, what would you say to her?
1) Focus on what you CAN do.
2) Let go of trying to help others that won’t help themselves.
3) Stay out of drama.
4) You can love others from a distance.

Here at MISSBISH we are starting a Book Club! What are some of your favorite books to read?
The Power of Positive Thinking, Boundaries in Dating, The Art of War, The Artisan Soul, and The Bible.

What is MISSBISH to you?
MISSBISH is a woman who’s strong, powerful, and creative.

Who’s your MISSBISH?
My MISSBISH would def be Oprah.

Photos by: Christina Choi

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