“Next on the seat” is a curated series that encourages conversations that we believe need to be spotlighted. Every month Paradise Files seats tastemakers in their own right, industry disruptors and leading thinkers. Providing a table for in-depth and open conversations about their journeys.
Next on the seat, we introduce London based Chinese YouTuber Nuria Ma. Nuria is a digital content creator on the rise, working with fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior and Ferragamo she’s beginning to make a name for herself in the fashion scene in London. Nuria sits down with us to speak more on her journey as a creative, the impact its had on her self-image and mental health as a young Chinese woman navigating through social platforms.
Where are you from? Tell us about your background?
Ethnically I am Chinese, but I was born and mostly raised in Spain. I moved to Shanghai when I was five because my parents wanted me to learn Chinese and moved back to Barcelona 3 years later. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved to London which is where I live now.
How was your experience as a young Chinese girl living in Spain? Was there any disconnection?
I am very glad that I grew up in Spain because I can now speak 4 languages and be a multicultural person. However, I did struggle with loving my origins because all I wanted was to fit in and be liked. Growing up, I was always mocked for my Asian eyes which made me very insecure of them. I thought that boys didn’t find me attractive because of my Asian features. I also wanted to have the same lifestyle as my Spanish friends so I would have more things in common as them. That made me very neglecting of my own culture, which also affected my relationship with my parents. I was angry at them for making me Chinese. Thankfully I no longer think the same way. I love my culture and my small eyes.
When did you begin your journey online?
It was the summer going into 6th grade. We had recently moved to a new a house, so I had no friends to hang out with. At the time I was very into making clothes because my dream as a child was to be a fashion designer. To learn I googled how to make clothes and that is when I discovered YouTube. I spent the whole summer watching sewing tutorials, which eventually led me to makeup tutorials and fashion videos. When I got tired of watching them, I started to make them myself.
As somebody that’s been exposed to social media at such a young age, has there been anything you’ve struggled with?
Staying true to myself. Growing up my self-esteem was very unstable. Yes, I uploaded videos despite what people might think which can be considered a very confident trait. But those videos were heavily influenced by what I had watched and seen online. I don’t think I would have ever uploaded something innovative or different. Nowadays whenever I make content, I consciously ask myself what is it that I like, independent of what people were doing that I’ve seen on Instagram. Another thing I still struggle with is comparison. Although I know that I shouldn’t compare, because as a content creator I know that what is online is almost never what is seems like, I still catch myself absorbing people’s content and reflecting them upon myself in a negative way. I think it is okay to be inspired and motivated by other people, but when that turns into jealousy that is when it gets toxic.
Are there any types of wellness routines that you have instilled into your life that keep you grounded?
Back home our house was in the middle of the woods, so I would go on a nature walk every afternoon as a break from studying. Now that I’ve moved to London, I try to keep practicing this habit of going on long walks whilst stimulating my brain. Music allows me to be creative and helps me envision content ideas. On the other hand, with podcasts I reflect and learn about different knowledgeable areas. For instance, I listen to Philosophize This by Stephen West to engage in philosophy and Going Mental by Eileen Kelly for mental health discussions.
What is your earliest beauty memory?
My dad was never a fan of me using cosmetics of any sort, not even nail polish which I adored when I was younger. My mom also never really wore or owned makeup. I remember all she had in her bathroom were beauty samples that she got from purchasig skincare. So, the first time I started to gain interest in makeup must have been when I discovered the beauty community on YouTube. Michelle Phan, the OG beauty YouTuber, she was the one that got me hooked with the makeup tutorials.
What is your morning beauty routine?
I am always trying out new skincare products but as of currently, I start the day by using the Dior La Mousse Foaming Cleanser. If it was in the evening, I would also use my Foreo Luna with it to deep clean my skin after wearing makeup all day. I just started using this cleanser very recently and I like it because it’s gentle on my sensitive dry skin. Next, I would use the Avene Thermal Water, which is a hydrating mist that calms and soothes the skin. To lock that hydration, I then use The Ordinary Squalane Serum. Squalane is an emollient that is very similar to our own skin’s natural oil that allows moisture to be absorbed better. The use of these two products together allows for locking in both hydration and moisture. A skin concern of mine is clogged pores. I was recommended the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo that contains ingredients like Niacinamide and Glycerin. It is supposed to help unclog pores and has exfoliating effects! I cannot stress how dry my skin is, especially in the winter. For that extra moisture I use the Dr.Jart Ceramidin Cream, which I have gone through 3 bottles of! It is just the perfect cream that keeps my skin nice and soft. My eyes get watery very easily which makes the skin around them very dry. To fix that I use the Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream. Finally, I use the Laneige Lip Mask to have soft and not chapped lips.
As you are heading out, what is the one beauty product you would not leave the house without?
Probably the Dior Lip Glow Lip Balm because I get color and moisture all in one.
What would you say to the 15 year old you, if you know what you knew now?
I would tell myself to do more sports and to learn a skill / hobby. Now that I am working and studying at the same time, I barely have time to develop interests and explore different things. I wish I was more involved during my teenage years.
Talent Nuria Ma
Shoot Producer Kiran Mariya
Photographer Joel Smedley
Creative Director/Set Design Luis Gaensslen
Stylist Rachel Parisa
Make-Up Artist Amy Wright
Retoucher Danielle Painting