Saturday, February 9, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Martha Hunt

Twenty-three year old North Carolina native Martha Hunt was a revelation during the Spring/Summer 2013 season. Having modelled since 2008, Hunt was proclaimed one of the hottest "newcomers" of the season with appearances at Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Miu Miu, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel to name but a few. Blessed with treacle golden hair, pale alabaster skin, sky blue-eyes and an imposing 180 cm runway ready frame, it is perplexing that the fashion industry has taken this long to realise Hunt's high fashion potential. When I met Hunt last season at Oscar de la Renta, she was relishing each opportunity whilst displaying a maturity, quiet confidence and a refreshing candour throughout our discourse. Influential casting director James Scully proclaimed Hunt as one of the key faces to watch out for in the lead up to the Fall/Winter 2013 collections, to which she has duly responded to with a stunning opening slot at Jason Wu's presentation on Day 2 of New York Fashion Week. In between the hustle of castings, fittings and shows, Hunt graciously chatted exclusively with Inoubliable Model Army about the vital role of sound management in a model's career, living with no regrets, and the allure of a little Southern hospitality.

Martha Hunt
Photographer - Unknown
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Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Martha, thank you for taking the time to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. You've had an amazing past few months since we last ran into each other at the fittings for Oscar de la Renta. Congratulations on success which has been a long time coming! Was the industry's response surreal and how are thing's shaping up for the Fall/Winter 2013 season?
MH: Hi Neill! I was very happy about the Spring/Summer 2013 season. I think the timing was finally right and it all came together. I was in the right place personally and professionally. Now I am looking forward to more shows for the Fall 2013 season.

Inoubliable Model Army: Fill us in on some of the gaps. Whereabouts in the US are you from, how long have you been modelling for, and how were you initially discovered?
MH: I am from a small tobacco town in North Carolina. I won a model search in NC when I was still in high school, but wanted to finish school first. I moved up to New York after I graduated to give it a shot. The rest has been a roller-coaster.

Inoubliable Model Army: Your Spring/Summer 2013 show list included appearances at Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Miu Miu, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel! Was it an emotional experience to finally crack the high fashion market after many years of grunt modelling, and what is the memory that you most treasure from the entire season?
MH: Well truthfully, I have always worked hard at my job because I feel blessed to be doing it. Cracking into high fashion opens up the doors for far more prestigious and creative opportunities, that really motivate me. I don't regret my prior work, however. It is relative to some of my current jobs, and it humbled me and prepared me on how to work hard, have patience and discipline to attain the same objective; a Job well done. My most treasured memory is when my manager called me to list all of the shows I was booking in New York. I was in a cab, and called my sister right after. I was full of emotions.

Inoubliable Model Army: Inoubliable Model Army's favourite runway moment of yours last season was the geeky chic look at Miu Miu. Are you enjoying being given the opportunity to now display greater versatility in your modelling repertoire?
MH: My favourite part of modelling is the acting aspect, so of course, I like to transform into different characters on shoots and on the runway.

John Galliano - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Miu Miu - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Mugler - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
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Inoubliable Model Army: If there was one singular look that you wore from the Spring/Summer 2013 season that you could have taken home with you, which collection would it have been from?
MH: Tough one. My short green dress at Mugler was sexy. That was a hot show.

Inoubliable Model Army: You mentioned when we last spoke that the best thing to happen in your modelling career was switching agencies. Given your personal experience, how important is the role of management to a model's success and how has IMG contributed to your high fashion crossover?
MH: Significant. Good management is key to a model's success. Obviously the talent has to be there and it takes effort from the model. But without proper management, a model can be easily neglected by the industry. Your manager has to believe in you, introduce you to clients, photographers, and editors he or she sees fit your image. It takes a manager with a vast knowledge of the industry (which I have been fortunate to work with at IMG) to kick start and manage your career properly. A smart model should realise the relationship with her agency is the most valuable one, and it's OK to be open about all the details. IMG saw potential in me, and changed everything.

Inoubliable Model Army: There appears to be a growing number of models in their 20s hitting modelling's major league over the past few seasons. Do you feel that being 23 plays more to your advantage now with dealing with the pressures of modelling and your new found success, and what are your views on the CFDA's ban on the use of models under 16 on fashion's runways?
MH: Now that I am in my 20s, of course I can say that this age range is a more appropriate time for a woman to deal with the pressure, rejection, and overall attention that comes with the territory. I understand as a teenager the idea of it is exciting, and girls can handle it differently. The truth is fashion is a fantasy world, and it will always be a designated platform for youth and beauty. Kids under 16 are too young to get involved with this industry, because they grow up too fast.

Inoubliable Model Army: American girls are making a big comeback in fashion with yourself, Ava Simth, Wylie Hays, Juliana Schurig, Athena Wilson, Madison Headrick and Ondria Hardin helping to redefine concepts of American beauty. What is your definition of modern day American beauty?
MH: I am often told I don't look American until I open my mouth. It's amazing how the American girl's features vary so much because we come from different backgrounds. The modern American girl can look like she's from anywhere. No cookie cutter image comes to mind.

British Elle - June 2012
Photographer - Enrique Badulescu
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Photographer - Unknown
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GQ - Fall/Winter 2009
Photographer - Chad Pitman
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Inoubliable Model Army: The show season can be a true test of physical and mental endurance. What are you survival tips for getting through the month of fashion mayhem?
MH: I eat healthy and take vitamins to boost my immune system, because I don't get enough sleep during fashion week. I drink lots of water, carry snacks, aim for flight upgrades, and I try to fit in a massage in my hotel. My supportive boyfriend has to deal with my venting!

Inoubliable Model Army: Amidst the rush of castings, round the clock fittings and shows, did you find the opportunity to bond with other models and who are your closest buddies within the industry?
MH: I like running into Alana Zimmer, Arizona Muse, Kasia Struss, Kel Markey, Andreea Diaconu, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Hanne Gaby, Sara Blomqvist, Ayemeline Valade... All very cool girls.

Inoubliable Model Army: The modelling industry has evolved a great deal since the supermodel era of the 90s, with new models attaining meteoric success without perhaps having been allowed adequate time to develop and to fully evolve. Your career trajectory is more akin to the early 90's modelling era. Do you feel that the supermodel phenomenon can be rekindled and what do you feel it would take for this to take effect?
MH: Well "easy come, easy go" seems to be the lingering challenge for models. Longevity depends on many variables... and I am not an expert on how, or why. I do think much of it is out of a model's control, due to changing trends. The one thing a model should focus on is treating the job as a business, and never settling for less. I don't know about the supermodel phenomenon being rekindled any time soon. For a model's rise to supermodel status, utilising social media is probably the new way of throwing phones.

Italian Marie Claire - April 2010
Photographer - Tiziano Magni
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Martha Hunt, Tamara Weijenberg & Bette Franke
Miu Miu - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Miu Miu - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Inoubliable Model Army: Congratulations on landing the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2013 campaign lensed by Inez & Vinoodh! How was the experience of collaborating on such a prestigious campaign with two of the industry's most influential figures?
MH: Well that was definitely a happy, bewildering feeling! I have always been a huge fan of Inez and Vinoodh's work, so scoring the opportunity to shoot my first high fashion campaign with them was a total shock. They wanted to bleach and cut my hair, but I was game to do whatever. The team from Miu Miu is legendary, so I was a bit intimidated, but they all made me feel comfortable. The setting was inspiring to work in, and for the cast I was in good company as well. Each of the models were great to work with, and brought something totally different to the set.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are the most valuable life lessons that you have garnered from your experiences in the modelling industry so far?
MH: There are too many to wrap my head around. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Trust your instincts, surround yourself with the right people. I have learnt that being shy and reserved won't benefit you. Don't feel sorry for yourself for a second. Once you make an effort to get out there and meet people, the whole fashion experience becomes much more enjoyable. Keep someone close to you that keeps you grounded. Find your personal from of release, like meditation, or cooking. Don't take yourself too seriously. It's always ok to speak up. Turn the negative into positive. These lessons are rolling off a bit too easily!

Inoubliable Model Army: With so many beautiful girls looking to breakthrough each show season, what do you feel are the defining factors for making a knockout impression on casting directors and designers?
MH: Aside from chiseled bone structure, owning a sense of style and character is important. The best models exude confidence. You don't want to be a clone of every other model. Designers have to sell clothes on women with a presence.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
MH: Outside of my DNA? ;-) Being southern. I mean the fashion world could use a it more hospitality.

Muse - December 2009
Photographer - Hans Feurer

Allure - March 2011
Photographer - Greg Kadel
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German Glamour - March 2009
Photographer Magnus Magnussen
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Special thanks to Jennifer Ramey at IMG Model Management in New York. For more information on IMG Models, please log onto

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