As a long-time Love Island fan, make-up artist Letitia Sophia was thrilled when Maya Jama was appointed host of the reality show and the pair jetted off to South Africa in January for the presenter’s first series.
Flying into villa on a weekly basis, the 29-year-old was part of the glam squad that got Jama camera-ready, and she was shocked by what she saw behind the scenes.
“You know when you watch an episode and there’s all this drama and it literally happens in, like, five minutes? When we’re actually filming it we’re there for hours,” she says.
“They want to capture all different angles and reactions – it does make sense, but I just never would have guessed that we’d be filming something that you see on telly for two minutes that could take up to two hours.”
The celebrity make-up artist – who started out working on department store beauty counters while studying international business at university before taking on clients for shoots and weddings – couldn’t be happier for Jama, who was appointed global brand ambassador by Rimmel in April.
“She deserves it so much and she’s just such a pleasure to work with – she’s literally one of my best friends now,” says Sophia, who first connected with the presenter on Snapchat nearly a decade ago. Other celebrities she’s worked with include Alesha Dixon, Winnie Harlow and Rochelle Humes.
Soon, the BFFs will be heading to Spain for the summer season of Love Island and Sophia will be working her make-up magic once more.
Ahead of the new series, we asked the make-up artist to talk through how to create a radiant, Maya Jama-inspired summer beauty look…
“I always like to prep the skin first,” says Sophia, who uses masks from Jama’s own brand, MIJ Masks.
“We’ll either start with an eye mask or face mask, and she has a rose quartz gua sha. I love doing that to get the blood circulation going and to start to sculpt the face.”
Then she applies a priming moisturiser: “I think sometimes people get it wrong where they think you shouldn’t have a super-nourishing base because you’ll be oily, but you should, because you want your make-up to be even and to last long.”
MIJ Masks Hydrogel Eye Patch 003 Soothing and Balancing, Beauty Bay
MIJ Masks Rose Quartz Face Tool
With her naturally stunning complexion, Jama doesn’t need full-coverage foundation, even when appearing on camera, Sophia says:“I don’t always use a foundation especially if it’s during the day.
“I’ll mix some concealers together to achieve the right dimension – in the summer she tans really easily so I feel like I’m constantly mixing colours.”
If you do want a bit more coverage, she has two top foundation recommendations: “I love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk – that’s just always been like a really amazing glowy foundation.
“I’ve also been loving Pat McGrath Skin Fetish, because it’s so lightweight. I feel like in the summer, you always want something light on the skin.”
And if you want to set your base without mattifying it, she says: “Huda Beauty Easy Bake I absolutely love. I’ve tried it on so many different people, so many different skin types and it’s just never failed me.”
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Boots
Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder, Cult Beauty
Swap powder products for cream versions to achieve a dewy glow, Sophia says: “I just feel like cream products on the skin, that’s how you get the radiance that’s perfect for summer.”
For the upcoming series of Love Island she’ll be focusing on sunset shades: “I’m definitely going to do a lot of the pinky and orangey tones, just because it’s just that summer sun vibe. And Maya loves that, she literally loves to just look glowy and bronzy.”
The last skin-enhacing step is highlighter. Sophia loves the Rimmel range and likes to swap between different products: “With highlighters there’s so many I don’t feel like you can just use one. On the last Love Island I was literally trying every type of highlighter.”
Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer in Tan
Rimmel London Glow Stick in Bubbly
“A signature that we always love is to do a feline, cat-eye wing,” Sophia says, and Jama is a pro at applying the sharp black liner herself.
“Rimmel Scandaleyes liquid eyeliner, she’s obsessed with that. Literally, she constantly has one in her bag.”
That’s followed with a couple of coats of black mascara: “She does her own mascara. I feel like mascara is quite personal, actually, because you can really get in there [with the brush].”
Rimmel London Scandaleyes Micro Eyeliner, Boots
“In terms of lips I love going for a nude-brown lip,” Sophia says.
Like many make-up artists, she combines lip liner to create definition and gloss to plump Jama’s pout.
“I like to use a brown lip liner and I’m super into gloss. I’m super into nude tones on her.”
Rimmel London Lasting Finish 8Hr Lip Liner, Boots