Wednesday 5 February 2020


The Girl Boss series aims to highlight the achievements of women just like you and me who are doing amazing things. Hopefully their stories will inspire you as much as they inspire me. This week we chat to Kajal Maharaj, actress, model, entrepreneur and co-founder of Beauty & MUA squad SA.

Imbewu The Seed actress Kajal Maharaj who plays Shria

 1. Who is your female role model/woman who inspired you and that you look up to?

My mom has always been the closest, inspirational person to me. My first experience of what a phenomenal woman should look like. I always look up to her strength, her fierce determination and her guiding hand. Her own life has inspired me in many ways and she is the reason I keep doing what I'm doing. 

Locally, Kim Jayde is a big inspiration. She kept her faith and belief that she was going to make it in the entertainment industry and even when she was broke and at her lowest, she kept moving forward and she succeeded with a humbleness that is so beautiful. 

Internationally, I'm obsessed with Jlo. This woman inspires me every day in numerous ways. 
Firstly, that age does not define you. She does not dress, act or live like a 50 year old and we need to stop putting restrictions on ourselves. 
Secondly, to eat better and live a healthier life. Her body is goals and her fitness level is aspirational. 
Finally, she is a go-getter and knows what she wants. The fire sign in me relates and is motivated on the daily by what this woman accomplishes at her age. 

South African actress Kajal Maharaj

2. What would your ideal day consist of?

Without hesitation, it would be sleep.

3. Do you identify as a feminist? Why or why not?

I have feminist ideals and views but largely identify as progressive.

4. How did you get into acting? What inspired this career path?

I have toddlers, two boys and from their tender age of 4 and 5 years old I can already see what they are passionate about. The same is true for my parents. From 5 years old, I was enrolled in extra curricular speech and drama. I was entered into toddler beauty pageants and I grew up in the industry. I always had a love for acting, for being on stage and moving the audience with a story. I pursued acting all through my schooling years and went on to study it as one of my majors at UKZN. I matriculated with 5 distinctions and parents would usually push you to study Accounting at that time, but my parents were so supportive. They were always the ones pushing me to achieve my dreams even when I would sometimes give up on myself. 

This career path is filled with rejection and my parents were anchors making sure that I continued to move forward. When I was younger I would watch our local soapies on TV and I would always sit there and practice, and I would say it aloud "I'm going to be there one day." I knew I was born to be an artist and following any other career path was cheating myself. My parents pushed me, I worked hard on sharpening my skills and today I am on a daily, national soapie for the third season. It does happen! Visualize your dreams, work towards them and what you see in your minds eye will become your reality! 

5. What would you say was one of the most memorable moments in your acting career thus far?

Being cast as Shria from Imbewu the Seed on ETV is definitely my highlight and my dream come true. I never wanted to leave Durban, my entire family is here and family means everything to me. To be able to work every day making TV but still be home, gosh I'm so grateful for that. Another memorable moment was travelling to India with a play I co-wrote and performing to an audience that understood the universal language of love, that was so moving.

Imbewu TV show South African actress and model Kajal Maharaj

6. The media is usually blamed for giving girls unrealistic beauty standards that they try to live up to. How do you feel you and other media personalities can change this stigma?

I am battling with those unrealistic standards myself lol. How do these instagram influencers even look like that? It is not possible to have such a tiny waist and hips that curve so massively from the top of your ribs lol! That is not body goals! Please don't compare your bodies to that! You can have your make up done amazing and you can take a picture and it still wont look like the edited MUA pics that you follow. There is an entire team that is behind the picture you see on a magazine cover. And I always think that if the media can make me insecure, what is it doing to everyone else? 

I believe that there a lot of inspiring women who do try to change this stigma, by being comfortable in their own skin. We are who we are, and we need to love and accept ourselves. I run a self development course for teens and women  and in my course, I cover the pressure of unrealistic beauty standards extensively and I work on breaking these mental patterns with exercises and affirmations. Sharing my story, my journey has always been one of the ways in which I work towards changing that stigma and to help more women proudly rock the image they see in the mirror. Always ensuring that I leave you feeling that beauty is an optimisation of self.

7. You have a *HUGE* makeup community on Facebook - tell us about that?

This community was born from my obsession with make up and my desire to give up-and-coming make up artists a platform to share their work and grow their business. Instagram can be a difficult place to grow your make up page when you are starting out and the beauty community can be known for being unsupportive so I wanted to change that mindset. I wanted to create a safe, encouraging place for beauty lovers to share their work, to get tips and advice and grow their business. We do not charge any advertising fees, this page is purely about women supporting women! 

8. Do you have any tips or advice on building a community/group on facebook?

The most important tip is to start a community that you are passionate about. Everyone is famous on social media and fame is not sustainable when growing a facebook community. Here people care deeply about the interest, about having like minded people together and if you are passionate about your group, people will enjoy being a part of it.

Kajal Maharaj posing at a photoshoot

9. You also have a business, PB&J Advertising and Little M with hubby. Stating your own venture takes a lot of perseverance and self control. How do you stay motivated when you feel like giving up?

This advice will also work in general when you feel like giving up at any moment in your life, Don't. It's that simple. We are only human, there will always be moments where life knocks you down, but for me I keep on moving forward. Having a great support structure can also keep you motivated, so make sure that the people you lean on in the times you need it will hold you up. When you need motivation and everything overwhelms you, stop looking at the big picture where it feels like the world is pulling you in different directions, take a moment to compartmentalize and do one thing at a time. Baby steps didn't just teach us how to walk but how to manage life to. Live in the present moment so that giving up is not an option and You become your greatest motivation.

10. Tell us a bit more about yourself. 

I am a mom. All moms will say that first when we are asked to speak about ourselves because it defines us. So much of who I am is a mom and a wife. I would like to think that I am a pretty cool mom too lol. I am an artist. I always feel like I am floating through all these lifetimes, observing and creating in different ways and living with so much light. I am a motivational coach, life didn't beat me down this much without equipping me to help others. On occasion when people need their events coordinated, you will find me as an MC. I am a business women, a brand strategist, a content creator, a person who dances at midnight while she bakes, a free spirit, a driven, sometimes fierce Leo who always puts family first.

South African Indian actress Kajal Maharaj on Life By Asha Singh

11. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

You are never going to make everyone happy, so stop trying. Look at making yourself happy.
You are never going to be perfect in the ways people expect of you, so be perfectly flawed.
Your weight fluctuations will always bring judgement, love yourself just the way you are because only your opinion and the opinion of your family matters. 
You are the author of your own story, dont be held back by the world's limits. 
You deserve to be here! 

12. Lastly, where can we find you? 

Instagram, FB @kajalmaharaj
Tik Tok @kajalmaharajshria
Website coming soon

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