It was, improbably, a terrible haircut that started Joyjah Estrada (@joyjah) on the path to becoming a model and influencer. Today, the 25-year-old Belizean is known for her voluminous natural curls, and for sharing in detail how she cares for them with hot oil treatments and sulfate-free creams. But that fateful cut left her locks too short to even pull into a ponytail, sending her combing the internet for tricks on how to make it grow.
The daughter of two entrepreneur-artists (her mother is a painter, her father a sculptor), Joyjah made a “concoction” based on all of her research, and started her social platforms as a way to share the results of her research. Half a million Instagram followers later, what once made her different — namely those curls and gorgeous freckles — are her signatures, and she has turned self-love, playful beauty tutorials and experimenting with different looks into a successful career.
We caught up with Joyjah right before she flew to Belize from LA, which she now calls home, for her review of the PORELESS Collection we sent her, and she got candid about her freckles, why PORELESS Moisturizer works for her combo skin, and the Belizean dish you need to know.
How would you describe your channels, and what’s the message that you want to get out to your followers?
I want people to come to my page to just be inspired and learn in a different way, because I’m all about self-love, authenticity and giving back to my people … I come from ‘third world country’ and that fact that that I’m over here now, and even before that, working with so many amazing brands from all over the world — if I could do it, other people could do it too. Nothing that I have was handed to me. I’ve worked hard for literally everything that I have, and I always try to pass that on to my people.
What’s your beauty philosophy?
Enhancing my natural beauty. I got bullied for my freckles growing up, but I’ve come to a place where I love myself 100%. I would not do anything to remove them, get rid of them or anything like that because they’re what defines me.
Do you have a motto or favorite quote that inspires you?
“Everything happens for a reason” and “What’s for me will always be for me” because I do believe that. When my friends get different blessings, we’re always happy for each other because that was for them. I always tell myself that if something doesn’t happen, it was because it wasn’t supposed to happen: “It wasn’t yours, Joyjah, and what’s yours will come your way eventually.” And I feel like it balances all life for me.
What do you do in your free time?
I feel like I’m a very adventurous person. I do love being at home, but every opportunity I get outside of the house, I am up for it. And I love doing all of the out-of-the-box stuff. I feel like it’s because of how I grew up, too. ‘Cause when we’re back in Belize, we just go out to the reefs and go snorkeling for the day or swimming with sharks in the waves. There were all of the islands, jet skis and kayaking, horseback riding to Mayan ruins — it’s crazy, but that’s my life.
You just moved to LA a few months ago. Any new favorite spots?
Over this side, I’ve been hiking. My boyfriend was with me the other day, we went go-cart racing … and we went to this area. It was medieval-themed place, and they had people and horses, fighting with swords. I just like stuff like that —out of the box.
What’s a beauty product you can’t live without?
Sunscreen. I can’t go without sunscreen. I also can’t go without my brows though, so that’s two.
What made you want to work with bareMinerals?
I’ve been using their makeup in the past and I really, really like it, especially lashes and lip. So when I found out that you guys have skin care, I was like, of course I want to try the skincare! My break at the end of the day is going into the bathroom and doing my little skincare routine.
Tell us about your skin: what you love about it and what you would like to do to improve it.
For me, I have combination skin so I’m always trying to find different products that would help me mattify. I know even though my skin is oily in certain parts is still craves moisture. I do have some large pores, textured skin a little bit. But for the most part I feel like I love my skin because I take care of it a lot. I’m happy with the way it is, actually.
What was your first impression of the PORELESS Skincare Collection?
I really like it, especially the moisturizer. I feel like the whole trio works because when I’ve been waking up, my skin just looks glowy and so nice. I’ve been using the three products every single day. When I put [the moisturizer] on, I could just feel that it’s doing its thing. It feels soothing, like my skin feels quenched, super moisturized and it looks so glowy and it actually stays with that nice, beautiful, healthy, natural glow.
You told us that you’re new to essences. What did you think of the PORELESS Exfoliating Essence?
I didn’t know that [an essence] could exfoliate as well, so I’ve been incorporating that. I’m looking at my bottle right now and I’ve used a quarter of the bottle already. I really like it because in the morning, my features look so smooth and it helps minimize the appearance of your pores. So I feel like that really did something.
We’re all about sharing THE POWER OF GOOD, whether it’s good ingredients powering a product, or doing good for yourself and others. Who has been a force of good in your life and why?
I’ve been so blessed to always have close community around me, but definitely my mom and my dad. Just as far as I could remember, they’ve worked hard, they’ve struggled and they never stopped working and I feel like even if there’s a day that comes where they have everything, they will continue to work and they always instill in us to believe in our dreams and more. I feel like that’s just such a good force of positivity that helped me to become the person that I am. Apart from that, I’ve had four close friends that have become family over time.
What’s one good habit you’d love to have?
I’d love to start waking up earlier in the morning. I realized when I wake up early in the morning, I get so much stuff done … but I also like sleeping. I’ve been waking up 11:00 every single day and I wish, I wish I was a morning person. Life would be so much better, but in my head, I just want to sleep!
What’s one good makeup or beauty tip you’ve learned?
Definitely sunscreen. But apart from that, I like putting like some sort of oil — it could literally be any oil — sometimes if I just have coconut oil, if I have body oil, I use that on all the high points of my face before I highlight. When I put oil and then highlight, it literally blends and it gives me a natural glow and it’s so pretty.
What’s one good song where you know all the lines?
There’s this song now from Chronixx, Jamaican artists, and it’s called “I Can.” I really love that song and I could sing every single word of it.
What’s one good place you’ve visited and loved.
I recently went to Spain and we went to this little town, Deia, in Mallorca. Oh my gosh it was so beautiful. The food was amazing, we rented a car and drove all over the island to different beaches … and we swam in the Mediterranean. In Belize I lived on the ocean side and we have huge beaches that are so beautiful, but there it was rocky beaches. That was so interesting to me. It was cool to compare to where I’m from.
What’s one good food you could eat every day?
There’s a place called The Belizean Paradise in LA and I like to get fish there. Then there’s dukunu — it’s made out of ground corn, it’s like a tamale. I like to get that, a beef stew, beans. I just need comfort food and I’ll be so good.