Malaïka Najem was born in Malaga, Spain in August 1989, to a Lebanese father and a half-French, half-Tuareg mother. She grew up in West Africa between Lagos (Nigeria) and Cotonou (Benin), which became with years a major source of inspiration and love (Mama Africa) that she would use in her work. At the age of 15 she went to ACS Cobham boarding school in the UK to finish her high school education and that’s where her interests for art grew. In 2007 after graduating, Malaïka went off to study her passion for jewelry in Florence, at Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School. The school gave her opportunities to enter and participate in various exhibitions in trade fairs and galleries in Europe. At her end-of-year graduation show, she was selected to exhibit at the Marzee gallery for the “2010 Marzee graduation show” in the Netherlands. In September 2010, she moved back to her roots, Lebanon, to learn more about this side of her culture that she had always cherished. Upon her arrival, she designed a line for young fashion designer Lara Khoury’s “Grow on you” collection. She worked at L'Atelier Nawbar to gain work experience in the logistic side of the jewelry business. In the summer of 2011, after hearing about Starch, Malaïka applied and got selected to be part of the new Starch family 2011 – 2012.