Over the past few years, Lil Mama has become the definition of beauty goals. She has assembled a whole glam squad, upped her fashion game and successfully orchestrated a red carpet and social media blitz showing off her grown-ass woman transformation.
[SEE ALSO: Get Into Lil Mama’s Head-Turning Fashion Glow-Up]
There’s nothing little about her anymore, except for her name (and even that’s up for debate). Her face beats are impeccable. Her extensions game strong AF. Her hazel green eyes are captivating through fluttering lashes. And, of course, her lip gloss stays poppin’.
“Growth,” Lil Mama tells Hype Hair when asked what inspired the switch-up. “I love fashion and music. Over time, growing and with age, I’ve started to find myself through experiences and just living life. With that, came my painting and developing a masterpiece—and I am only getting started.”
Lil Mama first made a name for herself 13 years ago with the high school bop “Lip Gloss.” After a mishap involving a stage crashing became fodder for Internet memes, she delivered a show-stopping performance in 2013 as the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in Lifetime’s TLC biopic Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story. Fans and critics, alike, could not deny that Lil Mama bodied the role—down to her flow, mannerisms and dance moves.
She went on to perfect her own look and sound with new songs that showed and proved just how underrated she has been as a lyricist—and has silenced naysayers who doubted her skills and ability to stay relevant. (Did they forget that rap legend MC Lyte is her mentor?)
“My two singles “Rollin’” and “Woo” just dropped in the fourth quarter of 2019,” she says of her latest offerings. Videos are now in the works: “Be on the lookout.”
“Woo” serves up a hard-hitting lyrical flow reminiscent of throwback Busta Rhymes, while “Rollin’” has her featuring on her own track under her birth name “Niatia Kirkland,” where she ditches punchlines for a smooth R&B flow.
For those wondering about the name change, it is “kinda like an alter ego situation,” she shares. “‘Niatia’ is used for my singing, and ‘Lil Mama’ is used for my rapping.”
Her trials and successes have also changed how she views her career, as she has gone from rapping to acting and now modeling. “Success for me is accomplishing my goals, both big and small, and creating new memories with my family and friends.”
And, Lil Mama has become a whole beauty boss in the process, serving as the face of such beauty brands as i-ENVY by Kiss and Yummy Extensions.
She first started working with i-ENVY by Kiss in August 2018 and has been slanging lashes that have us all rethinking our glam game ever since. “One of KISS’ partners reached out to collaborate on a lash line,” she says of the beauty venture. “With KISS lashes being one of my favorite lashes on the market, it was pretty easy to make a decision.”
Now, she has got a limited edition 3D lash collection, “iENVY XOXO Lil Mama,” featuring four of her favorite lash looks and has been involved in every step of putting the campaign together. “From thinking of ideas to photoshoots to what you guys see on your feeds and in the stores, it was truly a journey and an experience,” she says.
She does note that while the lashes are glam, they are not over-the-top. “KISS helps enhance features in a very natural way.” This makes sense—even though she’s dropped the tomboy swag, her beauty shoots don’t seem heavily contrived or out-of-character. And that is the definitive part of a true glow-up which, in three words, she describes as “fun, fancy and deep.”
“I define beauty through personality, as well as looks,” she adds. “When someone has confidence and great energy, I think that is so beautiful. I think it is also dope to be creative and have different creative outlets of being who you are and expressing oneself—freely at that.”
On the hair side, she’s served up everything from bone-straight 30-inch looks and blonde beachy waves to retro kinky bobs and voluminous curls. What else would one expect while repping as an ambassador for Yummy Extensions? Plus, all the different hair creations have led to some of her favorite hair moments. One, in particular, even transformed how she views wigs. “It was long and bouncy, just so full of life and I actually really enjoyed it.”
But, when she’s not rocking units for shoots, you might catch her on Instagram slaying her own kinky curly tresses in a twist-out or updo.
“My go-to look is my natural ‘fro, she says, which we’ve seen go from a honey-blonde back to natural black. “I love it! I love my natural hair and I take care of it as much as I can to keep it healthy.”
Her healthy hair regimen includes “olive oil and coconut oil to keep it moisturized,” she adds. “And deep conditioning is a lifesaver, especially after taking out/off a unit.” She also recently credited hairstylist Cassandra Powell in an Instagram post for her “twist-out, color, and daily maintenance.”
Music, check. Lashes, check. Hair, check. Conditioner, check. Any other must-haves?
“You know I can’t be without my lipgloss.”