< PARADOX Q&A: FOUNDER OF DEFOE & CO. JEWELRY, MAYISHA SIDDIQUI | Paradox

PARADOX Q&A: FOUNDER OF DEFOE & CO. JEWELRY, MAYISHA SIDDIQUI

by Erika Fonseca 5 min read

PARADOX Q&A: FOUNDER OF DEFOE & CO. JEWELRY, MAYISHA SIDDIQUI - Paradox

Paradox is a brand about empowerment:we aim to use our skincare products and beauty knowledge to help elevate and empower our community to feel confident and strong. To take this one step further, we’ve started a series on  our blog meant to hand the spotlight to the empowering women that inspire us every day. Get to know the #paradoxmafia through our exclusive Paradox Q&A series, where we highlight the incredible, bad*ss women that support our female-founded brand. Spread the love and keep reading to learn more!

MEET OUR FEATURE: MAYISHA SIDDIQUI

(all photos from  @mayisha.nyc on Instagram)

Q: Before we get into the interview, could you first tell us a little bit about yourself一 how did you get into the world of fashion and social media?

“My name is Mayisha and I am a Bengali-Chinese digital creator based in New York. I’ve always taken an interest in fashion and styling, and I grew up dressing my sister up 一 when there were special occasions, she turned to me. I never thought I would get into the ‘world of fashion’ per say, because to me, fashion is just a part of everyone's life, some people just notice it more. But this year I had more time to explore my lifestyle and aesthetic (due to quarantine), and wanted to compile my aesthetic exploration and learning of fashion into one platform, that's why I started my current IG account  @mayisha.nyc. I capture my daily outfits, talk about the history of fashion items, share my findings of sustainable brands, and much more. I'm lucky to have found a small community that likes my content and holds the same values as I do.”

"This year I had more time to explore my lifestyle and aesthetic (due to quarantine), and wanted to compile my aesthetic exploration and learning of fashion into one platform."

(photos from @mayisha.nyc and@defoe.co on Instagram)
Q: What is something you love about your work at Defoe & Co?
Defoe & Co. is my jewelry brand I started this year: I found my passion and potential after designing a custom gift piece for a family member. The brand is also named after my partner. My favorite part of the work at Defoe & Co. is definitely designing the pieces and seeing my vision come to life when a sample arrives. I love it whenever my jewelry pieces get shared online because it shows how much my customers love it. Juggling multiple job functions as a small business owner is challenging but enjoyable, as I have all the creative and business control over my work.”
Q: If you had to describe Defoe & Co’s aesthetic in two words, what would they be?

“Inclusive and golden.” 

Q: What about your own aesthetic?

“Minimal and versatile.”

Q: What’s something you love about your work on Instagram?

“Meeting a lot of virtual friends that have common interests and vibes, all with a heart of gold. And getting inspired by a wide range of creatives!”

Q: I noticed you made a  post back in July that addressed the importance of representation in social media and the idea of confidence一 could you speak to that a little more here?

“When I started Instagram, I wanted to focus on the quality of fashion and styling and on the aesthetic of a minimal lifestyle, but to show less of my face. I believe that ‘beautiful faces’ in the content creation world were saturated and should never determine the success of a ‘fashion blogger.’ This outlook sort of changed when a follower messaged me saying how her confidence has boosted after seeing a fellow Brown girl like me being so comfortable in her skin: she felt inspired by me because she used to believe only white creators can rule this type of minimalist, moody aesthetic. That's when I realized women of color are under-represented to mislead young girls like her. I realized that occasionally showing my face can help some women break the stereotype, and also encourage them by showing that there shouldn't be racial or cultural limitations during aesthetic explorations. It's not about being beautiful or not, but more because representation of my race in the content creation world or the world of design is lacking, so it means something when Brown girls or Asian girls see the face behind this account, and find somebody who looks like them.”

"I realized women of color are under-represented to mislead young girls like her. I realized that occasionally showing my face can help some women break the stereotype, and also encourage them by showing that there shouldn't be racial or cultural limitations during aesthetic explorations."

(all photos from @mayisha.nyc on Instagram)

Q: What’s your favorite part of living in New York City?

“The fact that it's full of people with inspiring ideas and you're able to find any entertainment you want. The energy is also so dynamic depending on the areas or time of the day, it's a great balance of calmness, ambition and hype.”

Q: When you were younger, what did you see yourself doing when you grew up?

“I had considered: a philosopher, a doctor, a finance guru, a dancer, a fashion designer, a business woman. I feel lucky I am finally learning to be a business owner while learning about designing, who would have thought!? But the ultimate goal is definitely just to do anything that makes me happy and brings joy to myself and others.”

Q: What’s something fun your followers might not know about you?

“I have a very international audience base, so all my communication is just in English. But since I grew up in southern China and was partially raised in Bangladesh, my mother tongue is Chinese and I speak Bengali fluently. On my page I also never mentioned my day job so a lot of people think I just do this full time, but I work as a director of marketing operations for a tech startup.”

Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for someone trying to get to where you are now?

“This year I made the effort to work on things that would bring me joy (becoming a fashion creator, starting a small business, designing jewelry). So I'd say that if you know doing certain work will make you happy, just take action to focus on that first and you'll figure out the next steps.”

"If you know doing certain work will make you happy, just take action to focus on that first and you'll figure out the next steps.”

(photos from @mayisha.nyc and @paradox on Instagram)

Q: We’re so excited for you to try out our  Lucky Star Blemish Patches 一 what’s one benefit that you’re looking forward to the most? 

“Definitely the combination of its healing power and the aesthetic of it. I break out pretty often around my forehead and temple area, then I would put calamine lotion on it and forget how crazy the white powder makes me look. One time I accidentally went grocery shopping wearing it (LOL). I think the Lucky Star Patches eliminate that issue for me and honestly look like a face decoration with some personality!”

Q: Aside from our Lucky Stars, which of our products would you be most excited to try and why?

“Honestly all the skin care products from your line are a MUST to me:  Vitamin C in the morning and  Retinol at night are both essentials. I'd also be excited to try the  Liquid Gold! I love that it creates a dewy look, and glowy skin always makes me look healthy and radiant.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT MAYISHA ON HER INSTAGRAM  @MAYISHA.NYC AND CONTINUE TO SUPPORT SMALL FEMALE-FOUNDED BUSINESSES (LIKE  OURS) BY CHECKING OUT  @DEFOE.CO!
Did you like this interview? Comment below to spread the love! For beauty tips, natural skincare products, and more content like this, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest. While you’re here, check out our #Trending posts (here) and our other Paradox Q&A articles (here), too!
Erika Fonseca
Erika Fonseca



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