Born and raised in Angola before making the move to New York, Maria Borges made headlines as the first ever model to sport Afro hair on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk in 2015, as well as becoming a L’Oréal Paris spokesmodel in 2016. Here, she shares her beauty secrets with Vogue, and tells us what it means to her to represent women of colour in the fashion and beauty industries.
I like to moisturise my skin with an oil, morning and night. And I’ll do masks too, usually I’ll choose a clay mask, they’re really good. In my work I’ve also really learned how important it is to clean your skin before you go to bed. I’ve been using L’Oréal Paris’s Fine Flowers Cleansing Cream, which I love. I really like trying out all the new products when they come in.
It feels so good to wear my natural hair in my work and to represent girls around the world like me. It’s an honour. I hope I can give girls hope to follow their dreams. And then this opportunity with L’Oréal Paris has opened so many doors for me, and I’m so glad to be able to represent with my natural hair.
On beauty treats
If I want to relax then my favourite thing is to go to a spa with some friends for a massage – that’s so nice. Also I love to swim so it’s great to be somewhere with a big swimming pool.
L’Oréal Paris’s True Match is my favourite foundation. It can be really hard to find foundations for my skin tone, but with True Match you really do get a perfect match. It’s incredible. Generally though I go quite natural with make-up. Natural-looking lipsticks and always mascara – I think I like L’Oréal Paris’s Miss Baby Roll mascara the most.
I work out a lot actually, I really like exercise. And I try to make my diet really healthy too, though I’m not a fan of salad. I really love to dance, so I like to do Zumba. And I do boxing, yoga classes – all kinds of things. It’s fun to mix it up.
On New York
I live in New York now and I love Harlem so much, it’s my favourite place in the city. I really identify with the African culture and I love being there – also that’s where the best African food is at. Everyone should go.
On her career
I have so many goals for myself in my career, so many. Obviously I’d love a Vogue cover, and it’s important to me in the future to do charity work in Africa, where I’m from.