WHO WHAT WEAR and NIXON USA recently featured me as one of their favorite stylish artists who " Waste No Time." Click to read the interview. 


Around the Who What Wear offices, there’s no shortage of inspiration. Whether there’s a new street style It girl, Instagram star, or #girlboss on the rise, every day there’s someone new to be inspired by. But breaking into an industry—whether fashion or anything creative—is no easy feat. You need a lot of fight in you, thick skin is a must, and a witty personality always helps. Case in point: Malia James, a self-made photographer, director, and bass player who knew she would be an image-maker from a very young age. “I’ve been on a mission since before puberty,” she says. “In a way, knowing your path so young is a blessing and a curse because I’ve never had a period where I was just hanging out living.” Here, James shares her advice on what it really takes to make it in any industry.



1: Youre a photographer, director, and bass player. Is there anything you CANT do?


Are you flirting with me?


There’s plenty I can’t do. I can't juggle. I don't have the gene that enables you to learn a dance routine in an aerobics class so I'm always one step behind. I can't make latte art. I don’t know how to use a sewing machine.  



2: You have so many talents! When did you know what you wanted to do?


OK, you’re DEFINITELY flirting.


I think I knew I would be an image-maker from a very young age- whether it be movies or photographs. In a way, knowing your path so young is a blessing and a curse because I never had a period where I was just hanging out, living. I've been on a mission since before puberty.



3: What has your career path been? How have you gotten to where you are today?


I've certainly taken the scenic route, that's for sure. I feel like everything I've done feeds the same beast, be it photography, directing, music, acting, writing, DJing, design. They're all skills that I'm now channeling into directing.


So many things I’ve done in life came out of facing fears. I was terrified to sing, so I sang in a band. I was scared to talk to strangers, so I hosted a show where I interviewed bands.



4: Do you work at home mostly or do you have a separate office you go to?


My office is in my house, thankfully, because I have a love of working through the night. The average 5 year old has a better attention span than I do, so working from home enables me to work through the whole day, but it also means I stop to tidy up more than I should. Send an email, fold some clothes. Do some research, make sure all the books on the shelf are perfectly upright, etc etc.


5: Whats a typical day for you, morning, noon, and night?


If I’m pitching/ wrapping a job: Meditate, take a walk to a coffee shop and listen to the track I’m working on, research on the internet, run errands, write, exercise, dinner, work until I crash, fall asleep to a podcast.


If I’m shooting: Wake up before dawn on less than 3 hours sleep, usually. Coffee. Shower. Then 15 hours on my feet, talking non-stop. Sleep. Side note: I eat alone at lunch on set usually because it’s the only time I don’t have to hear myself talk.



6: How do you achieve that work + life balance?


I’m still working on this, if I’m honest. Meditation is now a big part of my life because it helps me to slow down and work smarter instead of working harder. My goal for 2016 is to remember to take more breaks to enjoy the ride. That was also my goal for 1995 through 2015.




7: How would you describe your style?


I wear black on the outside because I'm so colorful on the inside.




8: What inspires you, your work, and personal style?


Movies. Friends. Friends who make movies. Love. Heartbreak. Travel. Home. The Night. Light. Black. Rain.



9: What advice do you have for other people who want to have a career in the creative realm?


Getting paid to do what you love is a total gift/miracle/ dream come true, so it’s a very competitive field. Be prepared to work hard and get knocked on your ass a lot. Failure and rejection are all a part of the journey, so get up and try again. Only the persistent and resilliant will survive.




10: Whats the best piece of advice youve ever gotten?


Be grateful.




11: Because your work/life is so hectic, why is it important to have a watch as opposed to only checking your cell phone for the time?


Our escalating dependence to media is absolutely terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, technology is magical, but it’s so important to enjoy the moment and the place you’re in. By checking a watch for the time, I’m still able to be where I am, not answer an email or go down some rabbit hole on Instagram.



12: What draws you to Nixon watches?


I realized some time ago that whatever you’re attracted to in others is actually what you want for yourself. A few years ago, I began to find it really sexy if a man wore a watch, so I added one to my uniform.


I love the simple, classic design of a Nixon. The Small Kensington and the Kensington Leather are my favorites!




14: What tips do you have for styling a watch with other accessories?


I have one set of jewelry I wear all the time- gold necklace, two heart rings (Verameat), gold bangle bracelets, gold hoop earrings.




15: Why/how is a watch the finishing touch to any look?


I like really minimal/ subtle jewelry and wear all black 99% of the time, so the watch is my one piece of flash, really. I also love the sound of my Small Kensington clicking about- it's soothing to me somehow. That sound means business and so do I.

Return to NEWS