Shadowhunters' Maia Roberts is a symbol of radical values coming together as a sexy werewolf bartender
Played by Alisha Wainwright, Maia is your quintessential brave, strong, and bold fighter, but at the same time, she is riddled with issues from her traumatic past.
When Freeform's fantasy show 'Shadowhunters' introduced us to the character of Maia Roberts, she was a plain, simple bartender serving our leading man, Jace Wyland (Dominic Sherwood). She was the seemingly nice girl who offered Jace free drinks and even let him use her phone so he could contact fellow Shadowhunter, Izzy (Emeraude Toubia.) But soon our perception of her as a side-character passing free drinks changes, all thanks to Jace, as he is able to figure out that she's a werewolf, owing to the marks on her neck. And thus began the riveting journey of Maia, whose transformation to the badass werewolf left us speechless not only because Alisha Wainwright does a spectacular job at playing her, but the character's backstory - as mentioned in Cassandra Clare's hit novel 'The Mortal Instruments' (which the show is based on) is an equally touching story to unfold.
Maia is your quintessential brave, strong, and bold fighter, but at the same time, she is riddled with issues from her traumatic past where she was a victim of abuse from her family. Growing up, it wasn't lost on Maia that her brother was the favorite child because once he passed away, it was almost like her parents just forgot about her. And it's significant because from that almost abandoned, barely cared for childhood, Maia grew up to be this exceptionally strong woman who's exceedingly well at masking her issues and insecurities with an active sense of humor, effortless charm, and hilarious sarcasm.
Vulnerable at the core, Maia uses these defense mechanisms to hide her true feelings and is also cautious of letting anyone close. But what's also wonderful about her personality is that she doesn't feed off the air of being a mystery to unravel for people she decides to let in, because she is her playful and friendly self once you get to know her. She balances it out with equal levels of snark and vocal distaste about the Shadowhunters in general, and also the high and mighty Cave, and most importantly - she is never afraid to put her foot down in the face of wrongdoing. Rounded up, she's a wonderful mix of the two other female leads on the show - the sweet and friendly Clary (Katherine McNamara) and the badass with a heart of gold, Izzy - thus making her such a wholesome personality to be in awe of.
And this is where the uniqueness of the character comes into play as she is pretty much one of the only female black werewolves we have seen on screen. In short, the curly-haired Maia is pretty much like her own butterfly tattoo which she keeps hidden at all costs because she has to maintain that image of a kick-ass girl, of course. Which shows in her dealings with the Shadowhunters in general so far, as having been so vocally abhorrent of them as a collective, and even after attacking Clary for beliefs of her own, she did change her mind and help them out when they needed her input the most, and for that we have to thank Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafa.)
Which brings us to Maia's character as a werewolf. True, we are introduced to Maia as a werewolf in Luke's pack, but the story that led to her being turned into a supernatural creature from a human is also quite intriguing. As the story reveals, Maia dated the over-possessive, aggressive Jordan Kyle at one point in her life, and eventually broke things off once she realized how toxic the relationship was to her. But this Jordan turned out to be a werewolf, and as means of getting back at her, he scratches her one night as she's walking home from a date with another man.
What came off as a bane to her existence, did cause initial problems and left her drained in the initial stages; she had no one to guide her and even ended up attacking a girl unintentionally. But much like her own personality, things came around for her eventually. She soon joined the New York werewolf pack, and ever since, under the guidance of Luke, she was able to overcome involuntarily changing into her werewolf form and was also finally able to exercise better control over her feelings.
Much like her internal struggles with striking the perfect balance between the caring loving friend, and the fierce fighter inside her, Maia's love life has also been nothing short of dramatic. She and Clary's best friend, Simon Lewis (Alberto Rosende) hit it off quite well initially, but soon Miaia finds out Simon is in love with Clary. It is upon her suggestion that Simon comes clean about his feelings for Clary, and the two even become a thing But once they break it off, and Simon decides to rekindle romance with Maia, she is neither the broken girl desperate to get back with him, nor the haughty one to reject him at first sight. Maia takes her time and comes around when she's comfortable in her own mind to hit things off again.
Even in the manner in which she ended things off with Simon and decided to go on a break, no matter how politely she put it down for him, she puts her needs, her mental peace first, and that is saying something. In that, Maia wasn't just a side character begging for the boy she likes, to like her back. She was her own person with her own issues first and acted on them despite probably wanting things to actually work out with Simon, which is both commendable and empowering.
So armed with werewolf powers of lycanthropy, and exceptionally skilled in mortal combat, Maia emerged to be the emblem of efficient with a dash of snark. The books show her also defeating some of the most powerful werewolves to emerge as the alpha of the pack, and that coming from the girl who was always made to feel inferior by her own parents is inspiring and touching to witness in all its right.