Cover Maryam Basir https://www.maryaminc.com/
Photographer: Allan Ali. Photography Assistant: Corey Hariston
Creative Director & Hair & Makeup: Maryam Basir
(interview) Editor in Chief: Rhonda McKnight
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Maryam Basir is best known for her role as the title character in the legal drama “LACE,” streaming on AMC’s platform ‘ALLBLK.,’ whose second season premiered just this summer. Maryam also recently launched her brand new cosmetics line, titled MARYAM BEAUTY. Additional credits for Maryam include "FBI International," “The Chi,” “Chicago PD,” “Empire,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “Holiday Heartbreak,” in which she won ‘Best Actress in an Independent Film’ for the HAPA Awards. She also stars in “To Live and Die and Live” which premiered at Sundance 2023, opposite Omari Hardwick.
Could you share some insights into how your experiences have influenced your approach to entrepreneurship?
Life has shown me that I need to be an entrepreneur. I think whatever someone has a passion for, when they have the time, they should explore it enough to see if it could be something that they can thrive off of. We all have unique gifts, and not everyone is meant to be a doctor or lawyer. Entrepreneurs and people who dream big and have decided to share their gifts with the world - this has created so many new avenues for exploration throughout humanity. They have opened so many doors. I am happy to be a part of that movement.
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The recent discussions about strikes within the industry have garnered attention. What are your thoughts on the current state of affairs and the potential impact on the broader creative community?
The SAG/AFTRA strike is so necessary. The way the world has evolved, everything is about streaming. It’s not fair that certain parties garner all of the wealth and abundance from that, but don’t share it with the writers and actors who create the work. Traditional network TV is pretty much a thing of the past. The old model of residual payments from television shows is simply not cutting it anymore. Yesterday, I received a check for $.85. I posted the check on my Instagram story, and I got tons of responses from other actors who all could relate. One said “wow you’re rich compared to me. I got a check for $.33.” They couldn’t even round it up to $.50. Another actor responded that they just got a check for $11. Another one said they got one for $.75. This is just to show you that network TV residuals are not sufficient for actors to sustain their livelihood. If we didn’t strike, we would continue to be taken advantage of. The truth of the matter is that there’s enough for all of us. And when people are compensated more fairly, the happier and more excited they are to work. I stand in complete solidarity. I am hoping that the powers that be see the value, and make the necessary changes to the framework so that the entire creative community can get back to work.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new cosmetics line, MARYAM BEAUTY, and what motivated you to enter the world of beauty products?
I am inspired by art. I am inspired by the world that I have been engrossed in, the world of entertainment. Working with so many amazing world renowned makeup artists from Danessa Myricks to Sir Jon, has made me interested in the transformational effect of make up. I have learned so many incredible tips and tricks to help enhance my look, and I am just so excited to share them with the world. I have seen how makeup and beauty have inspired confidence, and that’s my goal now, to inspire confidence through beauty. That’s the cornerstone of my whole brand. If I can help people do that, then I have done something important.
Creating a cosmetics line requires a unique blend of creativity and business acumen. Could you share some of the most rewarding moments and challenges you faced during the process of bringing your vision to life?
As a professional makeup artist, I have seen so many rewarding moments. I’ve had clients who have alopecia, have lost their eyebrows, and feel insecure and afraid to face the day. I had a client who woke up every morning and drew on her eyebrows before her husband woke up, so he wouldn’t see her. She was that self-conscious. When I micro bladed her eyebrows, she cried and remarked “I have brows, I have brows!” Maryam Beauty is all about creating solutions for people to help increase their confidence, so they can shine bright from the inside out. Whenever someone enjoys a product or service, when it actually blows them away and increases their confidence and self-esteem, it’s super rewarding for me. I love to help people feel more confident in their own skin through Maryam Beauty products and services.
As far as challenges I have faced, it’s been exercising the necessary discipline. Doing everything that I need to do each day. It can be overwhelming, sometimes, being an entrepreneur. Everything is on you. From business planning and finance to posting on socials, I wear so many hats. That is the biggest challenge.
Your fans are excited about your cosmetics line, and it's been making waves in the beauty industry. Can you give us a glimpse into your favorite product from the line and the story behind its development?
It’s so difficult to pick just one. I have two products in four different colors, and several in development right now that I am so excited to share with everyone. One of my favorite products is the brow stamp kit. It’s so necessary. It’s a kit with an essential brow, pencil, and two refills for when you run out of that pencil. It also has a sharpener inside, so your pencil can stay sharp. It’s innovative, I’ve never seen that before. When creating it, I was thinking– what would make the perfect brow pencil. And Voila! I just love it because it’s so essential, and it was well thought through. It’s also vegan, cruelty free, long lasting, and water resistant. Everyone truly needs it.
What sets your brand apart?
My brand is a result of the innovation that comes with working with hundreds of beauty and make up icons, being in the industry that I’m in. I’ve learned a lot, and I am excited to share. We design these products in order to inspire confidence, working from the inside out. That’s where the true beauty lies.
Transitioning between acting and launching a cosmetics line must have been exciting and challenging. How do you find balance between these two creative endeavors?
You’re right, it is exciting and challenging. Those are two great words to describe my particular journey. In my life, I am grateful to be able to explore many talents. It’s a challenge, but the great thing is, I’m never bored! I don’t really think about my days in terms of balancing it out, because it’s never quite equal. Time and energy need to be dedicated to particular things at the time that they are needed, and I just do what I have to do, when it needs to be done. To balance, I spend quality time with my family and loved ones, exercise, meditate, and pray; that helps keep me in an elevated state of mind. And realizing what’s important in life is also key. The tangible things that are in front of me and tending to those are important to getting to the bigger picture. Wellness, self care, family. My business is a reflection of me, so I have to be in good spirits in order for my business to thrive.
The entertainment industry has been evolving in terms of diversity and representation. How do you see your work contributing to this positive change?
It has been changing, I think because of the onslaught of social media, and how accessible it is for us to be able to create our own narrative. This has given us so much power. To share our own stories, and show our beauty, with no gate keepers assessing what gets put out there: it’s game changing.
Launching a cosmetics line requires a deep understanding of beauty trends.
How do you infuse your personal style and preferences into MARYAM BEAUTY products?
Yes, it is important to stay in the pulse of what is hot and new and fresh. I immerse myself in the circles of people in the industry who create the trends, so I feel as if I have an advantage to know what will be coming out soon, what everyone will be doing next year. I plan to be one of the people to help create the trends.
As an artist with a multifaceted career, what advice would you give to aspiring actors and entrepreneurs who are looking to make their mark in various industries?
Just do it. Explore your talents and make your dreams a reality. It will be a challenge, sometimes a long road, but don’t give up. You have a gift to share with the world. We all do.
What's your beauty routine?
I love Korean skin care. I use snail mucin face wash, vitamin C serum and snail cream as a moisturizer. And I overload on sunscreen. I wear it every day, and every 2 hours I spray it on again, because it only lasts 3 hours. I do yoga, calisthenics and weight training. Meditation brings beauty from inside-out - I highly recommend it. For my teeth, I do 6-7 steps every night. But that’s a whole other story!
Who's your ideal beauty client for your new beauty line, MARYAM BEAUTY?
Anyone under the sun who wants to improve their confidence through beauty, makeup and cosmetics!
Where can fans reach out and support you via social media?
@maryambeauty_____ (5 underscores), @maryambasir_