Maluma Reveals the Real Secret Behind His Chiseled Thirst Trap Photos

Talking to E! News about his new album, Don Juan, and rapidly expanding business empire, Maluma shared the secret to his successful Instagram thirst traps. (And no, it isn't crunches.)

By Natalie Finn Aug 22, 2023 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Maluma Reacts To His Viral Thirst Traps

If you happen to be one of the 63.4 million people following Maluma on Instagram, you may have noticed the occasional bared abdominal muscle or two. Or six.

And no need to play coy about it: The Colombian artist—whose upcoming sixth studio albumDon Juan, is named after historical fiction's greatest lover, after all—knows you're looking.

"I have fun," Maluma told E! News' Francesca Amiker in an exclusive interview, acknowledging his purposefully flirty pics. "It's part of the game and it's a nice way to communicate with my fan base."

The fans who've made him a Latin crossover superstar seem to appreciate the message, which, according to the 29-year-old born Juan Luis Londoño Arias, basically translates to what-you-see-is-what-you-get. 

"I just enjoy being me, you know," he explained of his approach to the art of the thirst trap. "That's me 100 percent, I'm real, that's the things that I do every day."

Well, everyone gets out of the shower most days, but not everyone's posing next to it wearing nothing but boxer-briefs.

Latin Icons With Legendary Style

"The days that I show how I am, people are like...I don't know, they feel excited about it," Maluma said, his tone humble but his smile a mile wide. "But it's just the way I am, I feel real. I trust the process, I trust myself. It's not like something where I think, 'Oh, I should do this, I should do that, this is gonna be the great picture.' No, I just put the phone [up], whatever, 'Yo guys, boom.'" 

Boom, indeed.

Those pics, then, may be the only aspect of the game that Maluma is casual about. Everything else—from his own recording career to his rapidly expanding Royalty empire that includes a music label, production company, clothing line and fragrance, plus his Contraluz mezcal—requires the utmost amount of attention.

Cristina Andina/Redferns

"Working hard, that's the only way to do it," he said of successfully keeping all those balls in the air. "Discipline is everything. If you have talent but have no discipline, you wouldn't make it. I would prefer having more discipline than talent."

Not that he even needs to fathom such an unbalanced equation, but he makes sure to heavily favor the variables just in case, appreciating all the good fortune that comes his way as a result.

"I always talk about this with the artists that I have on my record label," he noted. "They ask me, 'What's the key?' And I'm like, 'Man, discipline. Got to focus. Take the karma in a positive way against you and you're gonna see that things gonna start happening.' So discipline is everything to me."

Celebrity Selfies

Maluma was also quick to credit the team he has by his side, people whose managerial prowess allow him the freedom to pour his creative soul into his various endeavors.

"That's why it works," he stressed. "I have people that I really trust in every company and every project. So that's why I feel that it's working right now, because I put my heart and my passion to it."

The artist who has collaborated with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, The Weeknd and Nicki Minaj, and who had his childhood idol Busta Rhymes come up to him at a party to introduce himself, also walks the walk when it comes to developing new talent.

Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

The artists on his Royalty Records label thought he'd just sign them and that would be the extent of his guidance. "But no," Maluma said. "I go for it. I listen to them, I choose the singles with them. I really like to be involved because I love it, because I have the energy, because I'm still young."

That he is, and, in case you couldn't tell from his selfies, he's striking while the iron is hot.

Others may be waiting till one day to grow something, Maluma said, but, "No, man, I have to start right now. I have the energy, I have the time, and I really wanna do it." He pounded his fist into his palm for emphasis. "And I'm enjoying it, you know?" he added. "Now that we're healthy and we're young, and we can make it, let's do it!"

Latin American Music Awards 2023: Red Carpet Fashion

Then again, he barely had time to make Don Juan, which drops Aug. 25. He worked on it for two years and finally, once he hit pause on touring for eight months, he was able to get into the studio and finish. (Rest assured, he's headed back out on the road for a 30-city U.S. tour kicking off Aug. 31 in Sacramento, Calif.)

"It's been a beautiful journey," Maluma shared. And a tough one, he added, noting, "The right way to do a good album is not easy."

But he loved the painstaking process of putting together every lyric and rhythm, proudly releasing the full track list on Aug. 21. Que emoción, indeed!

"Every time I go to the studio," he said, "I try to do my best and give to the fans what they deserve—the best music in the world." So when they listen to Don Juan, Maluma said, they're getting "the best of me."

And to slake your thirst in the meantime, there's his Instagram.

"I'll post another one today," he teased, referring to his famously alluring photos. "I'll do it! You'll see it later."

Don Juan goes on sale Aug. 25. And scroll on for more of Maluma's eye-catching (albeit fully clothed) looks:

Hot Take

Maluma smoldered for the camera at the Givenchy Menswear Spring/Summer 2024 show during Paris Fashion Week in June 2023.

Maluma in a Masterpiece

Maluma's multicolored suit looked like a piece of contemporary sculpture at the Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring/Summer show at Paris Fashion Week in 2023.

Suited Up

For the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards, the artist showcased a fashion-forward preppy look.


Wearing Atelier Versace at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

Blonde Ambition

Wearing Dzojchen at the 2020 American Music Awards

Holographic Hotness

Wearing DSquared2 at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards

Million Dollar Babe

Wearing Moschino by Jeremy Scott during a 2019 Met Gala After Party.

Who's the BOSS

Wearing BOSS at New York Fashion Week 2019

Classic Magic

2018 Latin Grammy Awards

Sgt. Pepper

2018 Premios Juventud Awards.

Smartly Swank

2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards

Dashing in Snow White

Wearing Dolce & Gabbana and Ives Saint Lauren at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards

'50s and Fancy

2017 Premios Juventud

Sexy in Snake Print

2017 40 Principales Awards Nominated Dinner

Navy Baby

2017 Latin Grammy Awards

Ammo in Camo

2016 Coca-Cola Event

Fido Fashion

2015 Mega 96.3 Calibash

Cute in Coral

2014 Premios Juventud

White Delight

The 19-year-old was all smiles at the 2013 Latin Grammy Awards.