It’s no accident that her name is Maya Trends. Maya Miller is a content curator and is best known for her Instagram account where she showcases dope fits over fire music and instrumentation. With over 14k followers on Instagram and quickly growing, Maya looks to empower you to be whoever you want to be. However, Maya is far from just a fledgling Instagram influencer. Maya is also a computer science student at UC San Diego and has spent her last two summers interning at Google and YouTube Music and is an incoming software engineering intern at Twitter. Maya’s versatile skills will undoubtedly prove to be lethal as she aims to disrupt the tech/fashion industry. We had a chance to sit down with Ms. Trends herself and talk about her fashion influences and her love of music.
Push Playlists: So who are you?
Maya: My name is Maya. I'm a computer science student, but, I also am a fashion influencer on Instagram. My brand is "Empowering People to Be Whoever They Want Be". I'm also trying to figure out the intersection of technology and fashion. I haven't gotten my branding done completely, but I’m learning it piece by piece.
Push Playlists: Let's start off with technology. What got you interested in technology in the first place?
Maya: I met a developer from Twitter in the airport one day and he was coding on his laptop when I legitimately approached him. I was like "Oh my gosh what're you programming?." He told me he was coding whatever project he was coding and told me that if I was interested in coding I should look into a program called Girls Who Code. Somehow that stuck with me. I applied to Girls Who Code and was accepted. That program completely changed my life.
Push Playlists: Girls who code?
Maya: Yeah. It was crazy because we had this one project where we made an MP3 player and it blew my mind that something I used every single day, I built in a day. I was 15 and that flipped the switch in me. From then on I was like this programming thing is lit. I researched how to become a software engineer the traditional way and it said that I would have to go to a four year university and I decided to pursue Computer Science.
Push Playlists: That's a huge shout out to them for sure.
Push Playlists: How's your software engineering career been so far.
Maya: My first year was crazy because I struggled so much in my first CS classes lol. Then in my second term I got an offer from Google. I was like, “oh my God, is this forreal?” I felt like I was doing so bad in school, but I was doing well enough to pass interviews and stuff like that. I did my internship at Google and that got rid of all of my imposter's syndrome. It was so lit. My team was so encouraging and I completed a few projects on my own. It was super transformative for me. After that, I interned at YouTube Music and that was my first experience with front end engineering. However, I still wanted to get closer and closer to a social media company and now this summer I'm going to be working on Twitter Live as a backend engineer; which is exactly what I want to do hahahaha. I'm definitely a backend girl.
Push Playlists: So naturally, the next question would be how does a back end engineer get into the fashion? That doesn't seem like that's a popular career path or something that even makes sense to a lot of people.
Maya: Fashion has always been a passion of mine. I just did not know how to pursue it. When I was in high school, I wanted to go to a fashion school. However, my parents were always pushing me to do STEM stuff. My Mom was an engineer and she was not messing with that AT ALL. I’ve always had a strong aptitude for engineering too. However, I'm slowly starting to realize that my purpose in life is to use tech to do the fashion.
Push Playlists: Do you feel that you would have benefited if your parents supported your artistic side as well as your engineering side?
Maya: Yeah. I didn't really consider myself a creative until these last couple of months when people started to tell me how creative I was. My dad called me creative for the first time and I was shook.
Push Playlists: That's crazy validation. It's always great when family finally validates this side of you that you actually want them to validate. I'm sure your parents are proud of you.
When did you realize that you could merge your passions together?
Maya: I always wanted to post outfits on Instagram and I did it before in the past. However, I never took it serious. So last semester I was trying to find an outlet for myself because I was interviewing like crazy. I was miserable because I didn't have any creative outlet. So then I had my little sister take photos of me and then I literally started posting it from there. The moment I realized that I could do both was when I went to the mall and some girl noticed me. She said that she wanted to do computer science and fashion but she wasn't a "girly girl." Then I realized the lack of representation when it came to women interested in tech and a subset of other things such as fashion. Like it's rare to see an interest in hardcore computer science and aesthetics in general. So I think it's cool that I could be that bridge for folks who are dope engineers and love to dress as well.
Push Playlists: What're your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself as a creative/tech trailblazer.
Maya: Living in New York and living my best life. I'll probably be the founder/CEO of my own fashion tech company that I'm building with my squad. That's the thing, my plan now is to build my brand to be big enough to where I can service the people who follow me. Whether it's a product or any particular service. Basically my goal is to empower people to do and be what they really want to do. That’s exactly what i’m doing now, by being fashion influencer and a software engineer simultaneously. And its LIT. At first, I thought what I was doing was cool, but now I really believe in the vision and I have all the intentions to push that forward without a doubt. So basically in five years I want to make this even bigger than what it is now.
Push Playlists: How does music inspire you and how do you curate your particular soundtrack for your platform? Because one thing I've noticed is how intentional you are in terms of giving certain artists a spotlight on your page.
Maya: Okay. I posted one video and it got 50,000 views and I was like, oh wow. I realized people loved seeing a Flyy girl, Flyy clothes, with Flyy female rappers in the background. It just creates an energy that is so much fun and entertaining. I hate taking photos without music in the background, the music just puts me a bad b*tch mindset. That is where the energy comes from in all my content because I'm having a great time vibing off the music. I think its important I incorporate female rappers in my content because i realize its an opportunity to put newer emerging artist on. Megan Thee Stallion for example, people would be in my comments like “who is this?”, “What song is this?” I also have a ton of followers from the UK and other parts of the world that are being exposed to this dope music on my page.
Push Playlists: So you're basically, moonlighting as a tastemaker in a sense
Maya: Exactly. And I want to put out content that brings joy to people lives. I feel like me, turning up, in some Flyy clothes, with some bad b*tch music is a vibe hahaha.
Push Playlists: What is the day to day playlist like for Maya Miller ?
Maya: It changes so much throughout the day, if you looked at my recently played music of the day you would genuinely be confused. When I first get to campus, I’m playing upbeat music for sure. I like bay area music like SOBxRBE, Mac Dre, etc. Then by the middle of the day I'll mellow out. Now that Lemonade became available on all streaming platforms, I've been listening to that a lot. More of the calm stuff like Pray You Catch Me, and Love Drought to get me through the rest of the day. Sometimes I'd feel like listening to really ratchet music, but end up listening to, like, Frank Ocean. The range is so wide, it just depends on the energy.
Push Playlists: What is the most ideal listening experience for you ?
Maya: I feel like the music industry is having an explosion of dope black female rappers and I'm living for it. Every week I find another one that I love. Its good for me because I then have more music to play for my videos and to listen throughout the day. So a lot of upbeat strong bad b*tch music that makes you feel like you a bad b*tch.
What would you say is your biggest challenge?
Self doubt, period. point blank. Its really real and it will really stop you from being great. I heard a really good quote today that said "Perfectionism stops progress" and I been stuck on those words heavy because I'm a Virgo we're a known to be perfectionists. I be having to fight perfectionist urges to put content out there. It could be anything like school too. Me doing computer science is another example of me just going for it. I often have to silence my self-doubt and actually execute. I feel like a lot of people are so timid to start and they want everything perfect before they do, and I really realized you just have to put in work and go from there. If I were to look at my content from December to now, its not even comparable. You just have to start. My best life hack is to start where you are, with what you have, and build from there. PERIODDDT.