Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
From testing new skincare products to sampling bold new lipsticks, you’ll always learn something new from Lena Maiah. The Jordanian-American creator isn’t afraid to give things a test run and takes her near 400,000 followers on TikTok along for the ride. We spoke to Maiah about her beauty #hotgirlsummerrecs and how she’s working to create more inclusivity in the beauty world.
What’s been your journey as an influencer and what are your goals with your platform? You recently quit your job to do this full-time, correct?
Lena Maiah: My main goal is to connect with my community and give them the honest content we all deserve. I was always interested in sharing my lifestyle tips, especially valuable industry secrets that aren’t often spoken about or that most people don’t have access to. I studied psychology and was originally en route to pursuing law. However, I stuck to my intuition and pursued my dreams of becoming a creator which was difficult mentally, but passion always wins! I’m now constantly using the knowledge I have from my degree to grow my business. It took me about four years to get to where I am today and I aspire to continuously grow and inspire others to do what they truly love as well.
How do you empower women of color with your content?
I’m Jordanian-American and as a woman of color, I know and have experienced the struggles most of us face. Especially when it comes to beauty and style. I want to inspire women of color, through my content, to do what they truly love in life despite the heavy struggle that it can come with. As a creator of color, I’ve been working with various brands behind the scenes and at the forefront to help with inclusivity through building relationships and presenting ideas through every opportunity I get. The beauty industry often lacks representation of the South Asian/MENA community and my goal is to change that from the inside out. I’ve been able to connect with many incredible brands this past year with the support of my manager (I’m signed to Mione Management and am so grateful), and I can’t wait for the community to see change with the brands we are working closely with.
Since it’s summer, what are five products you think are perfect for summer temperatures?
Summer is my favorite season (I’m a June baby, duh). Here are my 5 beauty picks:
1. SPF! My current favorite is the Paula’s Choice Essential Glow Moisturizer. If you need one that doesn’t leave a white cast, I recommend the Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid.
2. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. They’re reformulating this mask so it won’t have fragrance or essential oils in it for those with sensitive skin — this is a win. It’s a must for those long summer nights and summer travels.
3. Beekman 1802’s Golden Booster & Probiotic Moisturizer. It’s perfect for my sensitive skin. The duo is brightening and has a lightweight consistency while still delivering hydration.
4. Gisou’s Heat Protecting Spray because your hair needs protection from the sun too!
5. Hourglass Vanish Blush Stick in the color Sacred is perfect for a summer blush.
What are your three most popular TikToks to date and why do you think they resonated so well with people?
My most popular TikTok (32 million views) is a recent partnership with Armani Beauty for their new perfume, My Way. This perfume smells so good and reminds me of my grandma who was a huge inspiration to me. She was and still is the most intelligent and classy woman I know. I shared some words of wisdom that stuck with me and the TikTok community resonated with it.
@lenamaiahComment your favorite words of wisdom from a loved one 💙 My Way by @armanibeauty is heaven on earth. ##ArmaniMyWay ##IAmWhatILive ##ad♬ original sound – Lena • لنى
My first viral video (3 million views) is a video of me showing a tip that my dermatologist taught me about how to decrease the appearance of milia under my eyes. This TikTok contains valuable information that everyone can apply to their routine if milia is a concern. I have a few other valuable skincare-related videos that have gained similar traction over the past year and the point is sharing valuable information is key!
@lenamaiahSkincare secret – milia & smile lines ##eyecream ##selfceare ##antiaging ##skincare ##myskincaresecret ##retinol ##skintips ##fyp ##skincaretips ##moreyouknow♬ Level Up – Ciara
Playing with makeup and enhancing my features is something I’m passionate about and in this TikTok (600K views) I shared a tip on how to make your lips appear much more full. Makeup is fun to play with and I’ve learned so many little tricks throughout the years on set of photoshoots. I’ve had the privilege of working with incredible makeup artists so I’ve picked up amazing tricks to share with my community.
@lenamaiahI never go without these two tricks ##fullerlips ##makeuphacks ##simplebeauty ##beautytipsandtricks ##beautyhack♬ original sound – Tory 🌸☀️
What are some beauty trends you love and what are some you dislike?
A fresh face with a bold lip is IT for summer and I love that it’s empowering to show REAL skin despite the phase your skin is currently in. When I had severe acne, it was perceived negatively to embrace the skin you’re in and now it’s a trend to embrace it while playing with minimal makeup looks and without hiding what’s underneath the surface. I think that’s so beautiful and I hope it doesn’t fade away! As for trends I dislike, beauty is not exclusive to me and I believe that everyone should be able to embrace the looks they create and love without being judged.
What projects and plans do you have for the rest of the year?
I have some exciting secret upcoming partnerships with brands I never thought I would have the honor to work with! Follow me on Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube to find out. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dior, Armani, Summer Fridays, Herbivore, Beekman 1802, Revolve, and more. I love to partner with brands that have products I use and love. The future is exciting at this point in my career!
What’s a secret talent you have your audience might not know about?
Well since I have a psychology degree, I think it’s a given that I can read minds [laughs].