My top 10 Tips on How to Dress like Strong Confident Woman.

how to dress like a stong confident woman starring maya

I’m having one of those weeks where I just want to bury my head in the sand and deny that I have anything to do. If only I could go on strike for a day, but I don’t think anyone would care. My little boss Maya wouldn’t have a bar of it.

But anyway, I’d been trying to think of what style-ish posts I can write that might be useful and I had a vision of Maya as a young  woman going out into the world as her own. It’s a very, very strange and scary thought seeing as she’s only just turned two.

I like to imagine one day she will ask me how to know what to wear and how to put it all together. At least I hope she asks me, god help me if she buys one of those ridiculous girly fashion magazines to educate herself from and learn a hundred ways how she is lacking.

This is what I would tell her.

My ten top tips on how to dress like a strong confident woman.

  1. Strong posture. It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, how nervous you are, how much you wish a black hole would open and swallow you up. In nerve-wracking situations which could be anything from walking into a bar alone, to a job interview all you have to do is lengthen your spine, shoulders back, head up and smile like you know something no one else does. Technically that’s true anyway. Great posture, or carriage as they used to call it in the dark ages can make you look composed, confident and strong even if you’re a trembling mess inside.
  2. Know what you like. Ever since I saw Katherine Hepburn in a white shirt  in an old 40’s movie, and Audrey Hepburn in a black long sleeve top and pant, I’ve incorporated it into my everyday style . I love the simplicity of it. When I dress in what I love, I feel great. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s in fashion or not. Black and white never lets me down. Your thing might be bohemian, or vintage, or the classic jeans and t-shirts. All that matters is that you love it and you own it.starringmaya audrey hepburn
  3. Dress for your shape. Knowing what suits you will help you find gorgeous designs to flatter you. I would love to be able to wear body con dresses but alas, my body doesn’t look good in them. Why would I make my poor body unhappy and uncomfortable? On the other hand a dress I recently purchased from Asos looks great on and I feel so damn good in it! The amazing Sophia Loren said that a dress should serve it’s purpose without obstructing the view, which is true of my lovely wiggle dress. Although, I don’t always follow this rule. Most of the time I run around in oversized shirts dresses and oversized tops with jeans. I love the feeling of loose fabric swishing around me but I also know that I’m tall enough to carry the extra volume off. So, know what suits you.

    starring maya asos wiggle dress
    Wiggle dress from ASOS
  4. .Choose one bit of skin to show. This one is simple, show off either your boobs or your thighs. Trust me you can look amazing even all covered up. As shown by Audrey Hepburn above.
  5. The ‘one fitted one floaty’ trick. If you have a two piece outfit a really flattering way to style is to pair a loose top with a fitted bottom or vice versa. For example a fitted top with an a-line skirt, tunic with leggings or fitted pencil skirt with a shell top.  This rule helps to show of your curves and always makes for a lovely silhouette

    starringmaya fitted floaty
    The fitted jeans and floaty top – one of my favourite looks. This look is from Asos.
  6. Make only 1 item the hero. It could be a statement piece of jewellery, a sequined jacket or an amazing print dress. Let everything else compliment that one piece instead of competing with it. Ofcourse I wont be following that rule when I’m a little old lady. I fully intend to wear all my big rings at once, huge necklaces and earrings, red lipstick and Chanel suits. Bring on the eccentricity of old age!
  7. Start and end your outfit in the same colour or theme. This is a really easy formula for instant polish if you feel like you need something extra. If you’re wearing a plain outfit of white tee and blue jeans, layer on a couple of long bohemian-ish necklaces (start of outfit) and a pair of bohemian sandals (end of outfit). Or, with the same outfit a black jacket (start) and black shoes (end). My favourite look at the moment is a gold and silver statement necklace with jeans and a tee, finished off with a pair of gold flats.
  8. Choose your shoes wisely. Do your back a favour and don’t wear heels that you can’t walk in. I always see impeccably dressed girls in their mega heels tottering precariously along. It doesn’t make you look confident or sexy when you are wobbling like a hunched unbalanced toddler. I used to only wear the super 10 inch heels when you know you’ll be sitting or standing in them for most of the time. For walking I used to carry flats. I knew my limitations.
  9. Shop well. Dont spend your money on clothes that look cheap. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to shop smart. Look for good fabrics that will launder well and always try everything on. Most internet shopping sites allows free returns in order to allow you to try on at home. Indicators of ‘cheap’ clothing are usually ill-fitting garments, puckered seams, baggy shoulders and sleeves, loose threads, uneven hemlines, blacks usually have a reddish our brown tint to them, and stretch fabric doesn’t bounce back after you stretch it. If you only get one wear out of it before it falls apart it’s a waste of money. Consider Cost per wear.
  10. Build your perfect capsule wardrobe. Meaning each item should be able to create many outfits. For example a fantastic jacket – one of the most versatile and worn pieces in anyone’s wardrobe. It can be worn with jeans, trousers, skirts and dresses. Nikki from styling you has just done a great example of creating a capsule wardrobe with 17 pieces creating 28 outfit combinations.

    capsule items via styling you - starring maya
    17 piece capsule collection via Styling you the blog.

.And please for the love of all that is good in this world, don’t hide yourself for the sake of fashion rules. If it’s a hot day and your arms don’t look thinner than a hungry catwalk model, go ahead and wear a sleeveless top because your comfort should always come first. Also because really, no one cares. Everyone is too busy with their own lives and their iPhones anyway. The people who look up and judge negatively are either secretly wishing they had your confidence or are just dicks.

Have I forgotten something? Do you have any more wise tips I can pass on to my child one day?

sophia loren quote starring maya


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

My First Adventure

starring maya the first time I moved out of home

Once upon a time, when I was about 23, a friend and I hatched a crazy plan to pack our things and drive to the Gold Coast to live for six months. My first adventure as an adult.

For fun.

(For non Aussie residents, the Gold coast in Queensland is a 12 hour drive from Sydney.)

This genius plan took about 10 minutes to come up so you can imagine how holey it was. We didn’t know where we’d live or how we’d actually earn money. We had a friend’s place to crash in for a couple of days and that was good enough for us!

It will work itself out I said to myself.

Three days later, my little red car half way packed,  I was enjoying my last cup of tea at home before picking up my friend.

I was so ridiculously excited and nervous at the same time. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it felt amazing to be doing something so crazy.

And then, I received a text from this friend that read “sorry, I can’t make it today, something came up”.

Just like that.

Like she was cancelling a coffee date instead of this major life changing event , no big deal.

Everything fell apart in my head as I stared at the phone completely stunned. I remember sitting in the living room and crying my eyes out… Scared and vulnerable. I didn’t want to go alone but I didn’t want to stay.

Deciding to leave wasn’t an easy feat. I am of indian background with strict parents, I was young and naive and had never lived out of home before. Indian parents would prefer that all thier children live at home forever, even after marriage and kids.

Clearly I was very unindian so I lied to them saying I had a job offer. A film for six months and the money was too good to refuse.

But, I didn’t have a job. Or a place to live. Or much money.

My safety net was gone and I was at a complete loss. And scared shitless

In my heart I knew that this would be one of the most important crossroads in my life. There was only one decision and I just needed to suck it up and make my mind up.

So I did.

I packed a few more things and started driving.

My first journey into a completely unknown future.

Just me, my music and my humble possessions.

Although, about 5 hours into the drive, in the pitch black night, with torrential rain obscuring the windscreen, I had a complete breakdown. I cried that loud ugly cry you can only do in private.

Dont worry, lucky this story has a happy ending.

On the way there I got a random call from an agency asking me if I was available to work on a film shooting in Queensland starting the next day.

Why yes, I believe I was available.

When I arrived at my friend’s place in the late hours of the night, she asked if I wanted to get a place to live together because her lease was up.

Hell yes!

I started work the next day, met and made some amazing friends who I still love today and moved to a gorgeous house with my lovely friend.

Trusting my gut instinct to keep going despite the fear that day set a pattern for the rest of my life. Best decision I ever made.

The end.

Have you ever done something crazy and taken a chance? How did it work out for you?

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

Wardrobe Tips – How to Get Rid of Clothing Stains

I remember my first job as a wardrobe assistant at a television station.

It was a huge opportunity with lots of fun dressing Tv personalities but as the assistant, one of my responsibilities was to wash and iron tons of shirts everyday.

It wasnt so bad actually. I quite enjoyed ironing, even to this day.

The cleaning not so much.

The camera picks up the tiniest stray thread or stain so each clothing item had to be meticulously cleaned before it was worn.

There was always some kind of accident –Lipstick, foundation, pen, coffee, mascara, even blood from shaving.

I learned a few things.

The quicker you get to it the better your chances of getting it all off. If you’re out, at least wash as much of the stain you can with cold water and get it in the wash as soon as you get home.

I recently tried Exit spray from Howard Storage World, experimenting on silks, cotton and denim. I must say it’s become a go to product – especially with a chocolate crazy toddler in the house.

How to remove stains on clothing starring maya howard storage world

I tried it out on lipstick, foundation, pasta sauce and waterproof mascara,  about an hour after I applied the stain and they all came off like a dream.  The only thing I had trouble with was grease and oil stains but I sorted that out with a little bit of dishwashing liquid and hot water.

It’s really easy to use and comes in either a soap bar or a spray bottle. All I did was blot the excess off with a paper towel, spray with exit spray, leave for about half an hour and gently rub the area with warm water. Then I threw it in the washing machine and wash as normal.

Here are a few more tips I use to get rid of clothing stains.

  • For Food stains, like chocolate, pasta sauce or grease I use dishwashing liquid in warm water to start. rubbing the fabric gently. If the fabric care instructions allow for it, use hot water. dishwashing detergent was made to clean food and grease off your plates and works like a dream, especially on chocolate!
  •  Wine spills – if you can get your hands on club soda, the pour this on the stain. keep blotting with paper towel and soaking with soda until stain disappears. If there is boiling water handy, pour the water through the fabric until stain disappears.
  • OIl Stains – cover the entire area with talcum powder or corn flour and leave it overnight. Brush it off and if it’s still there try the dishwashing liquid or even shampoo in hot water to harness their oil destroying powers.
  • Makeup – Witch hazel is great for lipstick and liquid foundation stains. Just dab a little with a paper towel and rub gently. Then follow with mild laundry detergent. mascara and eye liner will come off easily in dishwashing liquid and warm water.
  • So to keep all your clothes stain free, always have dishwashing liquid, club soda, laundry detergent, talcum powder and exit spray in your laundry!

If you have any other tips, I would LOVE it if you shared. Tell me in the comments below.

xxx shereen


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

The Awkwardness of a Costume Fitting

starringmaya - the first time I measured a man's inside leg length

There I was, on my knees, in front of a man in his jocks with no idea how to even remotely look cool and unfazed.

I was a very young 22-year-old, at a costume fitting of a feature film, and my job was to fit and measure out 200 male extras for suits.

As someone who was relatively new to the industry, ( and naked men) to find myself in this compromising position was hugely embarrassing.

Along with 4 or 5 other costume girls, we were armed with tape measures around our necks, safety pins, needles, thread, and scissors strapped to our bodies.

And a line of a lot of men–young, old, handsome and not.

I had never before measured a man’s inside leg length, or asked him which way he hung, so you can imagine the awkwardness of the situation. All of which we had to write down on a form so we could tailor alter the suits accordingly.

Incase you don’t know, a man’s inside leg length is measured by holding one end of the tape on the inside of his leg just under his bits and the other end where the hem would end.

I got through it pretending that this was something I did everyday, and using an unemtional tone while asking them questions. And never ever looking at them in the eye. Poor souls.  I did feel sorry for them. I’m sure it was worse for them than it was for us.

I consider myself lucky in my first introduction to inside leg measurements, because next to me was my co-worker with a man who got a little umm…shall we say excited?.. during the event.


It didn’t take long for me to get used to it however. Now during fittings, men and women strip off all around me and I can honestly say that all I care about is whether they look good in what I’ve selected and how long it takes them to change into the next outfit.

In fact, I am now so confident that I have no problems telling a man to adjust his balls during an underwear shoot as I hike up the waistband or straighten the hem of said underwear.

All in a day’s work.

So… have you ever found yourself in an embarassing but totally normal situation for work?

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or of you’re more of an Instagram person then right this way, but I warn you, I tend to post a lot of maya’s baby selfies 🙂

See you around!

xxx Shereen

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen


Bollywood, filming on the set of "from Sydney with love"
On set in one of India’s film studios in Mumbai. Filming ‘From Sydney with love‘ . Photographed by Claudio Raschella
Bollywood, filming on the set of "from Sydney with love"
The crew of “From Sydney with Love” during filming, Mumbai, India.Photographed by Claudio Raschella
Bollywood, children love singing and dancing on the streets"
The beautiful children of india. Photography by Claudio Raschella

The streets of India are always filled with music and dancing.


All the time.

Children on the street dance and break out moves from the latest hits.

Walk into any store and I guarantee there will be Bollywood music on the radio or a movie playing on a small screen.

The rickshaw driver sings olde worldly songs as he hoons around.

Almost every wall and billboard  is plastered with huge colourful Bollywood posters.

I once met a Director of an Indian film once who told me he proposed to his girlfriend on the university campus by serenading a popular Hindi song.

That’s how big a part Bollywood movies play in the people’s lives, .

Indian Cinema, the largest film industry in the world, sweeps over the top and all around India like a warm, sparkly, glittery sunshiny blanket and makes the world look and sound more beautiful. At least to Indians who watch it.

It is a fantasy world where boy meets girl, falls in love at first sight, woos and wins her hand in marriage Throw in couple of tragedies just to spice it up and always, AlWAYS a happy ending. It is a 3 hour saga filled with glorious costumes and of course lots of song and dance — which is the heart and soul of all Bollywood movies.

They are the ultimate romantic musicals of love, heartbreak and melodrama.

Up until a few years ago on-screen kisses were taboo, even though there were some very heavy ‘wet sarees in the rain’ hints at all the sex that was going on behind the singing. Now, it seems that the modesty veil is well and truly out the door. There are some major kissing actions in almost every scene…Scandalous!

As for my experience? Lets just say that if it weren’t for Bollywood movies during my childhood, I wouldn’t be in the Industry that I am, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to speak hindi as well (or as terrible) as I do.

I love it.

I grew up in Fiji where hindi films were a huge part of the 40 ish% Indian population. It saw me through my childhood and teenage years.  My favourite bit? The costumes of course!

If you havent seen one, give it a go. I promise you’ll be thoroughly entertained and you don’t even need subtitles.

There’s something in there for everyone, and to some people, its everything.


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

A few Kind Words

A Few Kind words can make a person's day - or a make a blogger's block disappear!I’ve been struggling like crazy to write something decent for the past few weeks. It’s not that I haven’t got any ideas of what to write, it’s how I write that’s the problem.

And the more I umm and ahh about each newly started post the more doubts I have.

I wonder if people read my posts, if they can make sense out of it, if they get knowledge or any kind of enjoyment from it.

Seems to be a pretty common ailment this blogger’s block business.

While it’s nice knowing there are other’s out there, I still don’t like when I’m in the thick of it without a light at the end of the tunnel.

I procrastinate and take days to write one post because nothing seems to work. I write a story, and an hour later I hit delete because to me I sound like a dick.

On and on it goes until I give up and get on pinterest to get some visual inspiration. Also a great way to waste time.

Today I went to visit a colleague and friend when out of the blue she told me she loved one of my recent posts and reading it had made her tear up a little. She said some other lovely things too which boosted my confidence a thousand fold so here I am writing again!

It was a really nice thing to hear and it’s given me just what I needed, a bit of confidence.

I will most certainly pass it on next time I come across something I love by someone else.

You never know how a few kind words change a person’s day 🙂

Whats the nicest compliment you received lately? Tell me in the comments below


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

What’s your stand on Black Bras Under White Tops?

For me its a huge NO NO. Just like white shoes.

But, like with anything there are exceptions, and I think today’s fashion is a lot more expressive and individual and really, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

This is how I see it.

A black bra can be incredible tacky if you:
  • Have pale skin where the bra will stand out like crazy
  • Are wearing a collared shirt at work
  • Dressed for a conservative/classy event like a wedding
  • Are wearing a beautiful white top that you want to highlight,  but instead all people are seeing are your boobs.
starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
Would have been a great classic outfit with the right bra
starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
A white bra is an ever bigger no no


The only times you CAN get away with wearing a black bra under a white top is:
  • If you have dark skin and there are no flesh coloured bras that match your skin.
  • When your top is so sheer that you can see skin and a black bra can look quite edgy.
  • You are under the age of 30 and have a healthy dose of body confidence
  • If you are Carrie Bradshaw
starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
I think this works – A flesh bra would have been visible and unattractive
starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
If you have the figure then why not! This cut on the armhole needs a black bra
starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
As with the above pic, I think this works if you are young and have fabulous body confidence.


When in doubt, don’t.

Wear flesh coloured bras, that way it’s you and your outfit that commands attention not your underwear.

starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
You cant see the flesh bra and the top looks great


Unfortunately in Australia there are not a lot of dark-skinned flesh coloured bra options, which is why I will sometimes wear a black bra under a thickly woven fabric, but if it’s sheer, I’d rather go for a black singlet.

If you must wear a black bra, go for a bralet which covers more flesh and then the outfit is classier and isn’t about inviting people to look at your boobs, but at your ingenious styling and layering abilities.

starringmaya black bra under white top where do you stand?
Bralets are Perfect for Sheer tops if you want to wear Black inside.


For more tips into the right undies check out my post on choosing the right kind of underwear. 

Where do you stand? Is the rule too outdated or do you think it still applies? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

xxx shereen




PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen