An image consultant by education—International Image Institute of Toronto—Maya began way back when the industry was in its early phase.

Three words. Self-made woman.

Maya Eltal holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, however, she shifted her career in her 30s and decided to follow her passion. Over the following years, she developed a distinctive styling look that rebelled against the stereotypes of the industry.

Maya Eltal. Photo supplied.

An image consultant by education—International Image Institute of Toronto—Maya began way back when the industry was in its early phase. "It was a challenge to advocate for the importance of image consultancy across industries in the Middle East Region whether personal, corporate, showbusiness," Maya shares with musivv. To create that awareness, the entrepreneur spent the first 5 years taking on several projects free of charge. Even participating in TV talk shows and writing up articles in fashion magazines. "It all went uphill from there!" she recalls.

Once the industry started to boom, Maya got into image consultancy for celebrities, TV ads, concerts and much more. She takes pride in the portfolio she has produced. "I still think that there is a lot more potential and work to be done with my career taking it to the next levels," she shares. "It has been a great journey! I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to follow your dreams!"

What’s your typical day like?
I spend A LOT of time at the mall! I do a lot of browsing to stay up to date with the latest trends, collections and styles. This is all pre-work before any shoot or event. I’m also a freak for mood boards, which I create for all my projects to showcase the look and feel we are going for. However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies! I sometimes must be up and on set at 5 AM or spend overnights on shoots. You must really love what you do to excel at it!

Top 3 styling projects you have done for a singer and why?
The latest project I worked on was ‘NAWAL NOW’, Nawal Al Kuwaitiya’s international concert for Riyadh Season 2022, which was out of this world. The concert was dedicated to showcasing her work from the very beginning until today. I styled her with 5 different looks for each act, each one carefully selected to suit the dancers and graphics in the background. I not only worked on the styling but also worked with the production team to bring this to life!

Another exciting project was styling Ahlam in her latest album ‘Fadwat 3younak’ in 2021. I will never forget how exciting and challenging it was to work on 24 different outfits for 24 music videos that were shot in 1 month!
I would also like to mention working on a music video for Elissa’s song ‘Ela Kol Elli Bi Hebouni” in 2018. Working on this with her was very sentimental and brought out a lot of emotions not only because she is a dear friend but also because this relates back to her fight against breast cancer. The memories we made while shooting this video are unforgettable.

How was it like being involved in EXPO 2020?
Being a part of the biggest event of the year was an unforgettable experience for me! I styled Mayssa Karaa for EXPO 2020’s music video ‘This is our time’ featuring Hussein Al Jasmi & Almas. I also styled her in the expo’s opening ceremony; she was wearing a white jumpsuit with a cape, which was inspired by the architecture of the EXPO’s beautiful dome, done by Lebanese designer Jean Louis Sabaji. The look was a true success, we got a HUGE number of comments and compliments on how modern and majestic her outfit and accessories matched perfectly with the setting. We shot the video before the expo’s doors opened and were in awe of the futuristic and exciting things they had in store!

What’s the biggest dream?
Tough question to answer! I would say my dream currently would be to start my own fashion brand. Whenever we custom makes any dresses or looks for a project, I work very closely with the designers and know exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to the design, color, down to the tiny details. I’m studying the idea and hopefully, it will be something I can fulfill soon!

Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Definitely! My work is all about details, so being a perfectionist is a must. A look could completely fail if I miss a small detail or do not give full focus to every part of the work. I’ve spent several sleepless nights overthinking looks in my head, even creating little virtual mood boards in my thoughts!

What are the factors you consider in styling someone?
First things first, I need to understand my client when it comes to personality, style, body shape, and color palette. Once I have this information in mind, I need to find the best way to style them keeping in mind the latest trends, as well as the occasion the client is attending. Beyond occasions, when I style clients as part of a makeover, the closet audit is a must to go through every single piece and how they can be repurposed, before moving to our shopping sessions!

For Maya, it’s important to recognize that everyone works with stars but not as the stars—regardless of how big a stylist's portfolios are. Maya's secret to staying humble involves treating every project like it was the first, giving her one hundred ten percent.—to make sure she stays efficient and effective. Most importantly doing it all with love!

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BACKSTAGE is musivv's segment honoring the men and women behind the successful artist. Features under this segment are eligible for a nomination under this category on The musivv Awards (TMAs) annual recognition.

August 23, 2022

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