The stripper and Instagram model Maliah Michel, was popular on the Houston dance scene in the late 2000s and early 2010s, becoming a figure of public fascination thanks to her affiliation with rapper Drake. Although she’s since faded from relevancy, many former fans of Maliah still wonder where she is now.
Maliah, who was born in December 1983, was first linked to Drake in 2010 after appearing in his “Find Your Love” music video as the leading lady. Shortly afterwards, she gave an interview with The Jasmine Brand in which she discussed her background, her rumored relationship status with Drake, and more.
According to Maliah, she was previously part of the AmeriCorps program, which works with local and national partners to ‘tap the power of the American people to tackle our country’s most pressing challenges’. Her childhood was less than idyllic, as when she was a teenager and facing financial struggles, she moved into a cramped one-bedroom apartment with her sister and her sister’s two children.
When Maliah turned eighteen, she began working at a strip club in Beverly Hills, and would soon earn up to $500 a night. She also recognized that the environment was a rough one, as many of the strippers had pimps and there was a lot of fighting and drugs.
After meeting director Derrick White, Maliah agreed to become a video vixen, and was cast for the Ying Yang Twins “Bad” video. After that, she was introduced to director Sean Cummings, and began networking with other important figures in the music industry.
One evening, Drake went to the club where Maliah was working and was impressed enough to shout her out in one of his songs – despite not speaking to her in person. The lyrics of the song in question, “Miss Me”, were: ‘Someone tell Maliah I’m on fire she should work tonight.’ As Drake was one of the hottest new rappers out at the time, Maliah thought it was ‘so cool’ that he’d shouted her out, adding: ‘I hadn’t even talked to him before. I mean, obviously he saw something he liked.’
Some time passed before Jas Prince – a friend of Drake’s and the son of music executive J. Prince – got in touch with Maliah and offered her a video shoot in Jamaica, without actually telling her who the shoot was for. Later that night, Drake called Maliah directly, and confessed that he was the one shooting the video and that he wanted Maliah to play the lead role. So excited she could barely talk, Maliah immediately accepted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
While shooting a romantic beach scene for the “Find My Love” video, the director, Anthony Mandler, encouraged Maliah and Drake to display their chemistry. Although the pair had never kissed, Maliah went for it, and claims that everybody on the set started cheering.
We’ll never know the ins and outs of Maliah and Drake’s relationship, but she also revealed that she had met his mother, whom she described as a ‘really beautiful person’. Of course, almost a whole decade passed between Maliah’s dancer beginnings and her first meeting with Drake. According to the dancer, in that time she bought a house with her fiancé – who later became addicted to drugs – and stopped dancing to embrace her Christianity, but decided to return to the strip club after running out of money.
In July 2017, Drake ‘retired’ Maliah’s stripper jersey during Houston Appreciation Weekend. However, the dancer was less than pleased by the gesture, and went on a social media tirade against the rapper. ‘Do you know how good it feels to be able to walk in the club with girls 10 years plus younger than me and still be that b*tch?’ she asked her followers, adding that she was overweight when she first began stripping, but had still managed to have a successful career.
— VH1 (@VH1) July 24, 2017
Maliah’s rant didn’t end there, as she claimed that Drake had frequently tried to get her to stop dancing, and said that she regretted thinking so highly of him. Finally, she said: ‘Contrary to “social media news” no man can retire me… Maliah will retire Maliah.’
2018 – Present Day
Although most people hadn’t heard or thought about Maliah for years prior to the retirement incident, she made headlines in August 2018 after alleging that she had almost gone broke following Drake’s stunt. Netizens’ opinions were divided: some considered Drake’s gesture as disrespectful, as he was technically saying that Maliah was no longer the number-one stripper in Houston, whereas others thought that the Cash Money hitmaker was doing her a favor by making her publicly relevant again.
Less than two months later, Maliah claimed that she told rapper Pusha T about Drake’s secret child with French adult actress-turned-artist Sophie Brussaux. For those who are out of the loop, Pusha and Drake began feuding in the 2010s, but things heated up in June 2018 when Pusha revealed that Drake had fathered an unwanted son with Sophie following a one-night stand. Pusha also dug up old images of Drake in blackface, and accused him of pandering to African-American audiences despite being half-Jewish.
Obviously, the news of Drake’s secret child made international headlines, especially when it was revealed that Sophie had also been sleeping with rapper A$AP Rocky, and believed him to be the father of her son Adonis. To make matters even more complicated, Drake and Rocky had both dated pop singer and makeup mogul Rihanna, and Drake was rumored to still harbor feelings for the Fenty Beauty entrepreneur.
Many netizens took Maliah’s claims with a pinch of salt, and Pusha himself denied the allegations, saying that he learned about Adonis’s existence from one of Drake’s musical collaborators and close friends.
As years passed, Maliah became almost unrecognizable to her former fans. For a while, she continued to be part of the adult entertainment industry thanks to her OnlyFans platform, but sparked concerns due to her erratic Instagram posts, which she described as her ‘spiritual journey’. As Maliah stopped posting on social media in February 2022, we have no way of knowing what she’s currently up to, or even if she’s in a relationship.
Maliah is 5ft 7in (170cm) tall and weighs 137lbs (62kgs).