Myla, has a playful, whimsical personality, one that influences how they style their hair, their nails, and, most importantly, their makeup. A self-described “ethereal fat fairy,” Myla isn’t dictated by specific aesthetics and trends when it comes to their creative expression, instead favouring a more intuitive, explorative approach that enables them to find inspiration in even the most mundane parts of life.
When they’re not playing in makeup, they try to relax with a thoughtful skincare routine and nurturing a passion for interior design. They also work towards increasing queer BIPOC representation in the makeup industry, which led them to be named a LGBTQI+ makeup artist to look out for last year. Myla spoke with METAL about the state of queer representation and colourism as a dark-skinned makeup artist in the industry, their various sources of inspiration for their work, and personal and professional goals.
Hi Myla, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Myla, and I like to call myself an ethereal fat fairy. An extraordinary, multifaceted and talented being pushing boundaries and norms with my beautiful creations.
Your makeup style is very distinct in the sense that it often features dramatic eye looks with playful, almost childlike designs – hearts, stars, flowers, and more – in bright, pigmented colour. What is the inspiration behind these looks?
The main inspiration is honestly just letting my inner child explore and experiment when it comes to me creating. I’m always also inspired by the most random things, like I could be outside and a car will drive past me and that would just spark an idea in my head and for the whole day my mind will just be running with ideas to create. I just have a very creative and active brain and I’m inspired by anything and everything!
Your looks are always accompanied by a bold hairstyle, whether it be Bantu knots or a blond Afro. How do you coordinate your hairstyles with your makeup?
My hairstyles always depend on my mood to be honest! With each hairstyle comes a different energy and a different flow of creativity, so I just let my mind do its things with each hairstyle. However I can be so indecisive when it comes to my hair hence I switch it up a lot, but I’ll always be rocking a colourful hairstyle without fail!
Your makeup and hair aren’t the only attention-grabbing parts of you – you often have elaborate nail designs. How do you express yourself with your nails, and how similar is that to how you express yourself with makeup?
When it comes to me as a person, I just love being able to personify parts of my personality whether that be through makeup, my outfits, or my nails! There’s always elements of ethereal-ness in everything I express myself with.
You were interviewed by Glamour about your relationship with skincare and how attentively you take care of your skin. Do you have any plans to pursue skincare more seriously, not just as something integral for your makeup?
I honestly love doing my skincare, it’s not just something I do simply because I wear makeup or because I create these extreme looks. No, it’s something I genuinely love doing. For me, my skin care routine in the morning and evening is me time, it’s self care time, it’s a time for me to be more gentle with myself and my skin. It’s super relaxing for me especially when I’ve had a hard or exhausting day. I would definitely love to invest in my skin more but of course that requires a lot more time and funds!
Mancunian Matters named you an LGBTQI+ makeup artist to look out for this year. What was it like to be recognised in this way? What are your thoughts on queer representation in the makeup industry?
Very honoured! It makes me ridiculously happy that my queerness is recognised in such a way, because truthfully speaking my queerness is my main source of creativity. It’s what makes Myla, Myla. Queer representation in the makeup industry is also something that needs to be worked on as it’s consistently the same white faces being presented to us as quote unquote representation. Especially during Pride month, there’s a heavy lack of Black Queer Artists being showcased, and it’s almost as if we don’t even exist?
You have spoken about wanting to empower dark-skinned Black girls with your work. What would you say is the state of colourism in the makeup industry right now? Are brands becoming more inclusive?
Compared to a few years ago brands are being slightly more inclusive, although colourism is still very much present to this day. There’s still a lot of performatism lately as we can still see brands in 2023 still struggling to be inclusive when it comes to shade ranges. Especially this year, it honestly feels like a lot of brands are regressing back to how things were 10 years ago with there being 40+ different light shades and having 2-3 dark shades only. Black women make up the highest consumers when it comes to beauty products, and yet I still have yet to see someone of darker skin, especially a Black woman, be the face of a huge makeup brand so yeah we still have a long way to go in this industry.
Tell us about a makeup look that’s been in your head for a while that you have yet to test out.
I prefer to keep my creations and ideas a secret until I execute them and present them to my audience (laughs)!
What would you say are your long-term career goals? Do you want to work with celebrities? Do you want your own palette?
I see myself as a multifaceted being, and I am a multifaceted being, and one of the things I would absolutely love to branch out into as well as still doing makeup is definitely interior design! I would love to someday start my own furniture line or company as I’m just obsessed with seeing funky and cool furniture designs. There’s a lot of celebrities I would love to work with, like I can just see and vision artists like SZA, Beyoncé, Bree Runway, Megan Thee Stallion, Raveena, Rihanna, Tia Corine, TKAY Maidza (the list goes on) rocking and slaying one of my creations on their beautiful faces! I can definitely see myself collaborating with a brand such as MAC and launching my own beauty products with them so I’m definitely looking forward to that!
Can you tell us about a makeup artist that inspires you, or one that you deeply respect, and why their work resonates with you?
Absolutely adore Raisa Flowers! I’ve been following Raisa for a couple of years now and I completely and utterly adore and respect their creations, they’re definitely one of the few people that I look up to who’s instilled in me that there is space for dark skinned plus size artists such as myself in the industry, and we deserve to have recognition in the industry as unfortunately often times Black Women and WOC tend to be very overlooked in this industry.
A lot of makeup artists move to Los Angeles once they gain traction online. Thoughts on this trend? Do you see a possibility for relocation in your future? What are your general thoughts on the makeup artist scene in London?
Well I just recently moved in the last year from Manchester to London. In my personal opinion, moving to places like New York and LA require a lot of money to be able to live day to day. Especially since we’re currently in a recession, everything is just so ridiculously expensive these days. It’s definitely a risk moving to places like this, and I’m all for taking risks; however, if you have a healthy environment back home, stay home, and save your money. There’s honestly nothing wrong with still living with your parents, don’t feel rushed or pressured to move out just because everybody else is doing so. Just move at your own pace and make sure to keep the passion for whatever path it is that you want to go down! I definitely do see myself moving and living in NYC in the next few years. I travelled there for the first time during fashion week last year (2022), and I completely fell in love with the city. I think I found a lot of comfort being there as the creative scene over there is huge and very diverse, and also the fact that I have quite a few friends that live in NYC too! I don’t have much of an opinion about the makeup artist scene in London but I do believe it needs to be a lot more diverse than what it currently is right now, and brands and their PR team need to do a better job at inviting more POC creators to their events.