A few days ago, during a meeting, Lyda announced that she wanted to incorporate stories of women that are so unapologetically themselves that they inspire others by osmosis. After a moment of silence, she excitedly said, “I want Lyric to be the first person we write about!”. I smiled for I couldn’t have agreed more. I connected with Lyric and set up a phone interview to get to know her on a more personal level and she blew my mind away! I can only hope that this article does her justice.
I met Miss Lyric Mariah a couple of months ago, during a Lyda Beauty shoot. She casually walked into the studio, said hello, made her way to the back and found a place to wait for her make-up call. At first glance I didn’t notice anything particularly different about her. She was nice, mellow, young and professional. I would even say that she seemed to be a little on the confident side. I’m not sure how much time went by before I noticed her “limb-differences” (as she calls them). You see Lyric was born with under-developed limbs. She has 3 fully developed fingers and one fully developed leg. Funny thing is she didn’t really stand out the way someone in her predicament would. Perhaps that was because she didn’t give off the usual insecure vibes, someone else with such challenges might have. That was the moment I first noticed her greatness.
Her energy and sense of self, in general, were on point! I mean here was this beautiful young 23-year-old African American with a prosthetic leg, three fingers and yet, by the way she carried herself, you would have never even noticed she had physiological challenges. As the morning progressed and more of the models arrived, she seemed to come alive. Lyric’s personality began to unfold with every minute and interaction. Her bubbly exuberant energy filled the space warmly and gracefully. She is very pleasant to be around and can make friends fast with her smile and amiable demeanor, simply put she’s easy to love.
On the day of our phone interview, I decided it would be best to just flow and see where it would go. I found Lyric to be very expressive, detailed and I didn’t really need to ask much. I could tell she had done this a few times, for she shared so freely and with purpose. Her responses were straight from the heart.
We covered a lot of ground in the hour we were on the phone. Unfortunately, I was unable to get it all on here so what I’m about to share with you is but a portion of the magic that is Miss Lyric Mariah.
KG: What made you choose modeling as a career?
LM: I didn’t choose modeling, it chose me.
KG: Interesting! What do you mean by that?
LM: I wanted to be an actress and when I was growing up I often reenacted movie scenes. I was also fond of modeling, but it just didn’t seem like it was something that would feed me.
KG: I understand what you mean, it’s a tough career to pursue in general and there isn’t much representation that looks like you out there.
LM: Yes and I didn’t grow up with self-love. I think that the reason I continued modeling is because the first time I saw myself in a (professionally shot) picture… I fell in love with myself for the first time and by then I was already 20! Modeling is a constant reminder that I’m beautiful and it helps me to fall in love with myself over and over again and I like that.
KG: That’s beautiful! What kind of shoots do you like be part of?
LM: I like doing all kinds of shoots among them are sexy shoots. I’ve also shot some nude stuff and some indoor stuff, but I operate with high integrity and have limits and I’m not afraid to state them. I only do what I am comfortable with. There are many people that assume that because of my appearance overall, that it’s going to be easy to convince me to do “things”. A lot of models, male and female are taken advantage of by this industry. I knew that coming into it but I refuse to give in and be victimized. I had enough of that in my early life.
KG: Would you say that you’re selective with the shoots you do?
LM: Yes, I’m very selective because I take my brand serious. I have to, I use it to uplift others and like to lead by example. I have turned down photoshoots for organizations that I feel aren’t all inclusive. I literally love everyone, literally everyone!… so I’m not going to ever do a shoot that puts down one group of people just to try and uplift another. I like to promote an all inclusive culture.
KG: I love that! Why did you choose to shoot with Lyda Beauty?
LM: I feel that Lyda Beauty stands for everything that I stand for, unity, love, inclusivity, camaraderie and the likes. When I met Lyda for the first time she genuinely had good energy which is very important to me. I’m very sensitive to energy and if its not right, I can feel it and I internalize it and it turns into anxiety. If I end up in a shoot where the energy is off, I always try to uplift the energy in the room, if that doesn’t work then I suck it up and finish my job but don’t promote their products on any of my social media.
KG: Wow, that’s awesome! What did you think of Lyda’s cat eye stamp?
LM: I don’t think that the title Lyda Beauty is talking about the make-up whatsoever. I really think she’s using the make up to show the self-beauty that she holds. I just really think that she has put her insecurities out there and has created something amazing with it. That type of vulnerability in this industry is hard and I really admire her for that.
KG: Were you involved in any sports growing up?
LM: Yes, I was in gymnastics and cheerleading.
KG: Nice! Did you require a special prosthetic for them?
LM: No but it was hard and not because of my limb-differences. These were the years that I started hearing that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do certain things. My family was concerned for my safety, the school was concerned for liability reasons and my coach probably a little of both. Up until I played sports I hadn’t heard that I couldn’t do something.
KG: That must have been tough to hear and know that the odds were stacked against you.
LM: Yes but it helped me develop that whole “watch me” energy and that has carried me through half my modeling career.
KG: When did you start using beauty products and what were they?
LM: I was in 8th grade, I think I was 13 and I used foundation. I just hated my skin, I didn’t have acne or anything like that I just thought I was ugly.
KG: In your defense I think we all thought we were ugly at that age. Hahahaha! I didn’t feel hideous but I definitely didn’t feel as cute as that girl across the way. Know what I mean?
LM: Yes, it built character that’s for sure.
KG: If you could say just one thing to people what would you say?
LM: That I didn’t do any of this, God did it.
KG: What do you mean by that?
LM: Everyone thinks it was me and tell me things like ‘You’re so strong, You did this all on your own’, and my thing is, if only people knew how weak I have been and how many times everything in me wanted to give up and could not. The most common question is ‘How did you do this?’ and I did not. I did nothing. We (meaning God and Lyric) did it all. Whenever I am asked about my accomplishments, I will always give praise to God first and then answer everything and they always say “well I know that but…”, then you don’t know (if you’re asking that).
KG: Ok we’re almost out of time but tell me, do you feel that you are currently living your purpose?
LM: Yes, I believe that He (God) has showed me a million percent what my purpose is and to go forth. However, I feel that I could have been a lot further along in everything… my career, my spiritual side but the flesh part of me and my anxiety weighed me down for a long time and I had to play catch up. I am a work in progress and I’m always going to be, so until I go home with God, I’m never going to be complete here… this ain’t it.
KG: Well I’ll tell you this much your energy is contagious, I mean that in the best way imaginable.
LM: Much love, thank you.
Some of her responses really left me awe inspired. The level at which Lyric operates is clearly not of this world. The amount of grace this young woman embodies is definitely beyond her years and to all that know of her, it is obvious she is serving a higher purpose. Her light is so great, that even in an industry as particular as the beauty industry, Miss Lyric outshines most. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this magnificent human and you should be too.