Tell us about yourself.
My name is Makaila Lyons, and I am from Wareham, Mass. I am 22 years old, and I recently graduated from McDaniel College in Maryland with a degree in Environmental Studies, and a minor in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. I love my family, friends, and my black cat- Ano. I am an ocean-lover, an avid coffee-drinker, and an advocate for any and all things that are important to me.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to work in conservation, management, and research of coastal environments, specifically marsh and wetland areas. My entire being has been shaped by growing up near the ocean, and to be able to protect and preserve this environment for future generations would mean the world to me. I am a firm believer in making a difference in what I do, whatever that may be, and to be able to do so in an environment that is crucial to the health of our planet is a life-long dream.
What does it mean to be your own kind of beautiful?
For me, being my own kind of beautiful means being true to myself. It's so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others, so being able to take a step back and say "she's beautiful, but that doesn't mean I'm not" is imperative. It means owning all that I am and being proud of it. It means taking the things that others see as flaws, and proving to them that they are beautiful because they're a part of this incredible being that I am.
Tell us about your modeling experience.
In high school, I was a part of an "upcycled" fashion show that showcased 2nd hand clothing from thrift shops. I have also always loved being the subject for my photographer friends. Other than that, I have little experience modeling, but I am willing and ready to learn!
What is your dream brand to model for?
I don't necessarily have a single dream brand to model for, but I have a variety of brands that I would be proud to model for. Companies that understand and represent the diversity that makes up this beautiful world are the ones I dream of modeling for. I would like to represent companies that stand behind strong and encouraging messages (much like HNM!) Any company that believes that people come in all shapes and sizes, and are all equally beautiful, is a dream company to me.
How would you describe your fashion style?
One of the most unique things about me is that I don't have a "type" in anything, including fashion. I dress according to where I'm going, how I'm feeling, and whatever speaks to me that day. I like clothes that I can feel comfortable in, but I also like clothes that are a little less comfortable, but more fashion-forward. I'm a big fan of athletic clothes, but I also love wearing dresses and anything floral. There are days where I can dress in a very dulled way and others where my fashion sense demands an audience.
How important is self-awareness and confidence to you in your everyday life?
Being self-aware and confident is something I work on daily. I am by no means the most confident person, but my confidence has come a long way. I have learned to compliment myself and believe it (because it's true!) I still find myself correcting negative thoughts about my appearance, but the important part is that I'm working on it. I have come to realize that I am beautiful in many different ways, even if it's harder to believe some days than others. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what society or anyone but yourself thinks about you, so I've learned to be kind to the body that has gotten me so far in life.
What makes you beautiful?
On the inside: I tend to be a selfless person. I almost always put others' needs before my own (which can bite me in the butt sometimes, but usually it ends up being a good thing.) I care so much about my loved ones and the people who are closest to me in my life. If you have a piece of my heart, you will know it. On the outside: ever since I first saw my smile without braces, I loved it. It has been my favorite physical feature on myself for as long as I can remember. I also stopped dying my hair in the last year or so, and I've realized how naturally beautiful my own hair color is. The way it lightens in the sunshine and fits my face and skin tone has become a whole new part of me that I love.
What would you say to another girl your age who is struggling with their confidence?
This is a hard question to answer because I can instantly remember the times where I have struggled to be confident. The best thing I could say to someone who is struggling with their confidence is that there is true beauty in every single person. I would tell them that living life wanting to be like other people is exhausting, and it is so not worth it; that they are beautiful in all that they are and ever will be. I would also tell them, that even though other people might tell them these things, that they are the only person who can decide that they are beautiful and believe it. I would tell them that it takes time, but it is a shift of the mind that must come first, and then the confidence will follow.