Photography by Maximillian
Batubolong & Echo Beach, Indonesia
Tell us about yourself?!
Hello, I'm Maya Joshua Fernandez from the Philippines and I'm half Filipino, half Japanese. I currently live in Bali where I'm a makeup artist and a soul surfer in my free time! I love spending time at the beach, inviting good friends to watch sunsets or even alone. I would say I'm an introvert and I love Filipino, Indonesian and Japanese food. I keep a few people close to my heart and treasure all of them..I'm a random person but I'm nice and I don't bite!
Describe your lifestyle in three words?
Surf, Makeup, Energy
How long have you been surfing for and where's your absolute favourite place to ride waves?
I've been surfing for about 2 years now but most of the time I can't say I had the chance to surf on a daily basis as there's time that requires me to go off the island. Ever since I got back to Bali last year, I decided to stay the whole year to focus on surfing and my career. This time has helped me to reflect on the past months and focus on myself and the waves. I can say my favourite spot is Batubolong beach. I always go on the left break but when I have the chance to fly out of the island, I will head straight to East Java!
Having a career as a makeup artist in the fashion industry, do you prefer to use ethical beauty brands?
When I was learning back in the Philippines I didn't have enough knowledge and access to sustainable ethical brands. As I have grown in my career and continue to do so, I have met many people who have inspired and motivated me to support sustainability and the use of ethical beauty products! Recently I was gifted by an L.A based makeup brand that promotes a cruelty-free and vegan based makeup. I am so grateful to be given the chance to explore more and create looks using ethical and sustainable beauty brands.
What's your favourite makeup look/s that you've done to date?!
One of my favourite makeup looks I've done so far is the shoot I did with one of my favourite photographers in Bali, her name is Sharon Angela. The shoot was for L'Officiel Indonesia. It was a very creative and unforgettable one.
The second look was all about women empowerment and divine feminine. A shoot created by Wedda Sattya and my best friend Yasmin Suteja. This shoot has grown on me and made me proud of what I do for a living. I'm so happy to be part of such amazing projects.
Have you seen much change in Bali with conscious living towards plastic consumption, recycling and looking after the environment? If so what kinds of change?
I'm aware of so many changes here in Bali, especially in the area where I'm living. I can definitely see people trying in their own way to contribute to recycling plastic and helping the environment as a community. It's thrilling to see as it's proof that people are waking up and individual efforts all make a difference.
Tell us a phase in your life that has been of great significance to you?
The time I left the Philippines to build a career in Bali. As a Filipino not knowing anything about Bali and western culture, it definitely gave me a culture shock! Also the fact that I did't know anyone from the fashion industry made me struggle a lot as an individual try to survive. Going through this rough patch ended up taking me down the right path. There is good energy, flow and a place that I call home. This experience has made me grateful about everything! Being able to live, surf and work and meet amazing people here always humbles me.
Tell us a little about your background and where you grew up!
I am a Pyemairrenner woman, Aboriginal to Trouwunna/Tasmania, but I grew up on beautiful Bundjalung country in northern New South Wales. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my childhood close to country, swimming in the ocean and hanging out with animals.
Nature is such an incredible source of inspiration and it’s clear that it plays an important part in the development of your music. Where’s your favourite place to date that you have been inspired by to create sounds?
I recently moved to Narrm/Melbourne where I have less access to alone time in nature. I am still trying to navigate how creativity works for me in this new environment. My favourite place to sing is by bodies of water, whether it’s the slow rhythm of the ocean or the gentle giggling of a stream. The sound is so musical and makes me want to sing. Crickets remind me so much of home, and frog calls. I love singing with them too.
What’s the significance behind the name Willow Beats?
The word “Willow” is closely tied to early memories Narayana has of his father and my grandfather. The beats part got tacked on somewhere down the line and it stuck!
Do you have any sustainable practices that you implement into your day to day life?
We would love to hear them!
I carry a waterbottle, but at the end of the day ethical consumerism is still a big trick to keep us complacent when really the entire structure needs to change. Sustainable living is also really inaccessable to those from lower socio economic backgrounds. It’s expensive to shop ethically. I volunteer (when I am not touring) at an amazing organization called Seed Mob, it’s a climate coalition run by young Indigenous people. Indigenous people are the first to be affected by climate change, islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Torres Straights are already being affected by rising sea levels. Support First Nations people to protect country. Stay educated, stay woke, broaden your perspective.
Define “Less is more” in your own words
I didn’t know I needed all this stuff until you told me I did and it didn’t make me happier.
What is the next stop for Willow Beats?
I am still riding the high of our Debut Album release. We have our debut album tour coming on in March which is very exciting. Until then I will be writing music and spending some much needed rest time at home.
A quote that is significant to you?
“It’s not a lot but we do our best”. My mother would always say this when presenting people with the most luscious homegrown meals. Anything we needed she would build from scratch and it was always luxurious in its simplicity. Afternoons were spent picking herbs and soaking in a tub over a giant fire outside. She managed to create joy throughout my life with simple pleasures. She is my sustainable hero.
Tell us a little about your background
I'm from a little village in the North West of England which has a coast...but you only every see the sea twice a day as the tide is huge over the mud flats. Instead my passion for exploring the sea started a bit more tropically in Malaysia. From a young age, every other year we would try visit my mothers family in Malaysia, and when we did we would visit the East Coast islands. How could you not fall in love with the sea there? That initial spark that ignited in those warm waters has driven me to pursue scuba diving and has let me to complete my degree in marine biology at the University of Plymouth.
What's your favourite marine animal and area of study?
My favourite animal (let me tell you this is not easy Alex!)...It's between a Mantis shrimp or a Manta Ray. Manta Rays because they are the most elegant thing in the sea. Huge, graceful and highly intelligent. Mantis Shrimp because they are so bad ass. They put into perspective how little we actually see the world. With at least 12 colour receptors on their retina to our puny 3, imagine how psychedelic the world is in their eyes!
You are currently in Malaysia and on the move. What have you been up to this past month?
I've come to Malaysia to visit the family. I couldn’t be on this side of the planet and not swing by! It’s been a well needed rest as just in the past month I’ve been diving with bull sharks in Fiji, watching scientists tag sharks to monitor the effects of shark feeding as well as trying to decipher the nursery grounds of Fiji’s sharks. I’ve also completed a diving course on twin tanks, GUE fundamentals, as even though I thought I was a good diver, I knew I could push myself to become even better. And then lastly I went on a photography trip to the Mecca of Macro, Lembeh with the fantastic underwater photography William Tan. Not only did we do the usual critter hunt in the day to scope out blue-ringed octopus, mantis shrimps and hairy frog fish… but we also headed into the middle of the strait for black water diving at night, luring in creatures of the night and deep, basically larvae and plankton. The coolest, most alien-like creatures I’ve seen.
What kind of positive change would you like to see towards our oceans? Is there an area you are particularly worried about?
There are so many things hitting the oceans currently, a lot of these impacts the oceans can buffer against if given time. But something the oceans have never had to face before is plastic pollution. I know a lot of people are working to solve this issue, but especially being in Asia at the moment, I can see a lot of people still don’t know, still don’t care. I’ve seen first hand plastic bags being pulled out of dead turtles that have washed up. If the whole world doesn’t act together, we are going to lose a lot of our beautiful marine life.
How long have you been diving for? and what is one of you favourite dive spots to date?
I’ve been diving since I was 12. I lucked out big time as my dad loved scuba diving so I naturally had my diving buddy. I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the red sea earlier during my scholarship year, and we dove quite relentlessly within the Ras Mohammed National Park in the North. It was brimming with life and colour. We timed it for fish spawning, so were able to see huge schools of bohar snapper, barracuda, bat fish…and my favourite, schools of puffer fish!!!! It was probably one of the few places I’ve been to that showed me what seas all around the world should look like.
A phrase that means something to you..
Every Action has a Reaction. – I learnt this one in school and initially used to think it applied to the way we treated others around us. I still believe that, but now also apply it to the way we treat our world in our day to day. Especially when some of us live so far removed from nature and the oceans, we can hardly see how one little thing can have a repercussion. But reactions are inevitable, we’re all connected to each other and our environment.