Weekend Discovery: ShamelessMaya

Happy Easter! And to my friends celebrating Passover, Chag Sameach!

Now, a question.

What would happen if you shamelessly promoted yourself to the world for 365 days straight? When you take into consideration the fact that almost everyone seems to want that elusive moment of fame, yet an equally widespread fear is standing up to talk in front of a crowd, it’s not the easiest question to answer.

But for New York-based artist, photographer and filmmaker Maya Washington, aka ShamelessMaya, it was a challenge she was about ready to take on. As she put it in her introductory Youtube video,

“I see a lot of people promoting themselves online. Shamelessly. Whether they’re good or not! I find that it is a skill set, and you have to be able to put aside that perfectionist thing in you, that self-awareness, that self-monitoring, that holding back. All of that is detrimental to getting our work seen. It can be amazing, but if you do not share it, nobody cares.”

The reason I came across her in the first place is because a friend of mine shared a video of Maya explaining why she was going to be deliberately shaving off all her hair.

This is what her hair looks like: maya's hair

*collective gasp across the internet*

But her reasoning behind her decision was so, so brilliant [seriously – watch what she says about how women’s ideas of feminine beauty and personality are often inextricably linked to our hair, making a situation like undergoing chemotherapy all the more traumatic, and how empowering it is to realize that hair is simply a part of you, not ALL of you!] and it was such an enormous leap of confidence, that I decided to see what else she had on her vlog channel.

I was primarily hoping to pick up tips on curly hair care, of which they are aplenty – many of the videos are great for this, actually.

But I also discovered the main reason for her vlog, and why it’s called ShamelessMaya – it comes back, of course, to the idea of putting yourself out there for the world to see your talents, and also in order to quash your fears of failure or insecurity. She vlogs about this, giving tips and inspiration on how to #beshameless, and holding herself to a personal standard for putting herself and her work out there through as many social media channels as possible (hence the hashtag).

But that’s not all. She also talks about everything else, from her photography, to personal makeovers (she can transform from Grace Jones to Nicki Minaj at the drop of a…play button?), to artists’ money woes, to to lighting tips for photographers and videographers, to late night food adventures!

And she is So. Very. Relatable. I mean, she-should-be-your-best-friend relatable. As I noted when I shared the original shaving-head video on my The Lady Project blog, she is smart, articulate, funny and empowering, and I think everybody could learn a thing or two from her about being shameless!

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