Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Maartje Verhoef

Maartje Verhoef is unequivocally a modelling superstar in the making. Pretty lofty words to describe the sixteen year old high schooler who has been modelling part-time since being discovered only three years ago by her mother agency Micha Models. Verhoef's modelling track record thus far speaks volumes with a riveting Spring/Summer 2013 debut opening for Prada, blue chip campaigns for Valentino, Prada, and Céline shot respectively by Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, and Juergen Teller, lens time with Patrick Demarchelier for Interview Magazine, and a growing model as muse status holding opening or closing honours at Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Céline, and Paco Rabane. Indeed Verhoef's rapid ascent through modelling's elite ranks coincides with the timely arrival of fellow teen compatriots Imaan Hammam and Julia Bergshoeff, forming what could aptly be described as the Dutch Trifecta. All three models have left the fashion industry hankering, appearing selectively at Fashion Week via a slew of strategically placed runway bookings, all the while completing their high school education.

Verhoef's graceful lithe 179 cm frame, prominent forehead, perfectly arched brows, and petulant pout have sent casting directors and designers into a tailspin as they scramble to secure the Dutch beauty in their show line-ups. Verhoef's elusive runway quality has translated into pure campaign gold without running the risk of overexposure that has halted many a promising new face dead in their tracks in the ever fickle world of fashion. With the final leg of the Fall/Winter 2014 collections underway in Paris, Verhoef has already galvanised industry attention via an immaculate Milan show list including Jil Sander, Emilio Pucci, Alberta Ferretti, and Fendi. With her pristine peaches and cream complexion, piercing runway stare, and stunning versatility, Verhoef will surely have Paris burning in the week ahead. Verhoef chatted exclusively with IMA in the lead up to the Fall/Winter 2014 season about the chance photo shoot which led to her discovery, the challenges of balancing school with plum modelling assignments, and the undeniable perks of show season.

Maartje Verhoef
Photographer - Uncredited
Source - bellazon.com

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Maartje, thank you for taking time to chat with IMA. Congratulations on a sensational Spring/Summer 2014 show season and on making it onto IMA's Top 10 Newcomers List. How would you describe your overall experience at the Spring/Summer 2014 collections and are you looking forward to the Fall/Winter 2014 shows?
Maartje Verhoef (MV): I was really happy that I had some days off from school to participate in Fashion Week. I didn't expect to walk in so many shows, I felt very honoured. It was also my first time doing the shows in Paris (as in the past I was not allowed to miss too many days of school). I'm really looking forward to the Fall/Winter 2014 collections. I hope I can walk in as many shows again. I just had my school exams so I'm happy I will be able to take off some days from school. When I do Fashion Week it motivates me to work even harder at school, it gives me so much energy!

IMA: As a relatively new face to modelling, would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA's audience?
MV: I'm 16 years old and come from the South of Holland. I started modelling 3 years ago, and over the past year, after my Prada debut everything has been moving faster. I was discovered by a photographer (he worked at my dad's company). He was doing a shoot and one of the models was ill so he asked me to replace her, and he sent the pictures to my mother agency Micha Models. That is how my modelling career started. Before that I had never actually thought of being a model!

IMA: Your international catwalk career kicked off with an exclusive opening slot for Prada at the Spring/Summer 2013 collections! How did you handle the pressure of being first out onto the runway and the intense media attention that followed?
MV: Everything was completely new for me. I hadn't done a show before so I didn't know how everything worked. When I had my Prada casting and Ashley Brokaw booked me as an exclusive I didn't realise the full significance of what had happened. That day my mother agent from Holland came to Milan (because it was my first show) to be there with me. Just a few minutes before the show, she told me that I had to open the show. I didn't have time to think about it and before I realised I was on the catwalk. That was really a special moment for me.

Opening for Prada - S/S 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Max Mara - S/S 2014
Photographer - Fablo Iona
Source - style.com

Opening for Bottega Veneta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

IMA: Your mother agency Micha Models has gradually introduced you to the modelling world via a selective roster of blue chip clients and jobs with the key focus on allowing you to complete your high school education. What kind of support has Micha and your agents provided you to enable you to juggle your modelling career with your education?
MV: Micha always makes a careful selection from the requests. If there is an important job I should do she asks me if it is possible to fit it in with school. My school allows me ten days off, they are flexible and helpful. And if it is not possible to do a job, Micha (and the other agents) are not pushing me.

IMA: At the recent Spring/Summer 2014 collections you opened for Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Paco Rabane, and closed for Céline, it addition to appearances at J.W Anderson, Marni, Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, and Viktor & Rolf to name but a few! Was the season a bit of a blur or are there any special moments which standout as personal highlights for you?
MV: I really enjoyed closing a show for the first time. But every show is special, it's nice to see how everyone is working so hard to make the show a success. The Viktor & Rolf show was especially memorable because there were a lot of Dutch people working there (the designers, dressers, and a lot of Dutch girls).

IMA: Aside from the obvious choices of travelling and meeting new people, what do you enjoy and appreciate most about modelling?
MV: No one day is the same, and sometimes we get free stuff from the shows which is really nice to have. This season I got a Marni bag, a Céline bag, and Balenciaga dresses! And it is also amazing to walk in such beautiful clothes.

IMA: In 2013, you posed for Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier for the Prada Spring/Summer 2013 campaign and for Interview Magazine's feature on "The New Breed" of Supermodels. Was it an intimidating experience to pose for two of the most influential industry figures?
MV: When I worked for the first time with Steven Meisel I was a bit nervous as it was my first campaign and my first time working with such a good photographer. But the shoot was so relaxed. The shoot with Patrick Demarchelier was a nice shoot and Mr Demarchelier was really friendly.

Prada Campaign - S/S 2013
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

Maartje Verhoef & Esther Heesch
Valentino Campaign - S/S 2014
Photographer - Craig McDean
Source - thefashionspot.com

Maartje Verhoef
Image courtesy of Seeds Model Management

IMA: Which also brings us to your recent Spring/Summer 2014 campaign for Valentino lensed by Craig McDean. The Valentino shoot featured a stunning line-up of new modelling talent including Ine Neefs, Malaika Firth, Auguste Abeliunaite, Esther Heesch, and yourself shot on location amongst a stunning backdrop of rocky boulders. Where was the shoot set, how did you get into character for the shoot, and was it fun sharing in the excitement with the other models in such a magnificent location?
MV: The location was beautiful and really special. It was in the desert in Los Angeles. We had to drive to the desert on each of the shoot days, it was 2 hours driving. When we were in the desert we were taken to the top of the desert in jeep buggies, that was a lot of fun. When we arrived at our the shoot location we had to stand on rocks, it was warm but the crew on the shoot protected us well. I knew a few of the girls from before so it was great to see them again. The atmosphere with all of the girls was really nice and pleasant.

IMA: It's unusual for a sixteen year old to have access to the world's most exclusive high fashion designs! Has your sense of style changed much as a result of your fashion industry exposure, and which three designers are you most inspired by at the moment?
MV: Yes my style has changed since working in the fashion industry. I try to wear more fashion pieces. I'm the most inspired by Valentino, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana.

IMA: Given that you are still in school, which other professions interest you as an alternate career to modelling?
MV: Actually I don't know what to do after or as an alternate career, I'm thinking of pursuing university studies but I don't know which one yet.

Malaika Firth, Maartje Verhoef, & Tami Williams
Backstage at Alberta Ferretti -  F/W 2014
Photographer -
Source - vogue.com

Backstage at Emilio Pucci - F/W 2014
Photographer - Paolo Musa
Source - dazedgitial.com

Maartje Verhoef & Ophélie Guillermand
Photographer - Uncredited
Image courtesy of Style Bistro

IMA: Dutch girls continue to dominate the modelling landscape with many of Micha Model's girls achieving international success. Have you had the opportunity to meet many Dutch girls so far during Fashion Week?
MV: Yes I met a lot of Dutch models at Fashion Week and during shoots. There are also Belgian girls who I enjoy working with. But I haven't formed really close friendships yet because I haven't walked in so many shows. Most of the time during the show season I'm with my mother in an apartment and I don't have so much time to spend with the girls because I need to return to Holland as soon as possible to go back to school. But it is always nice working with Dutch girls ;-)

IMA: What have you found most surprising about the fashion industry and what have been the most valuable life lessons that you have acquired so far from your experiences?
MV: The fashion industry taught me how to take care of myself. Since I've been working and travelling, I'm much more grown up.

IMA: Beauty is very much in the eye of the Beholder... After having seen so many beautiful girls during your travels and at the shows, what is you personal take on a modern day Beauty?
MV: I think a modern Beauty is someone who has some special qualities in their face.

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
MV: Haha! It is hard to say something like that (about yourself) but I think that most people remember me because of my eyebrows! Besides that I always try to be positive and to bring that feeling to the set!

Maartje Verhoef
Photographer - Richard Bakker
Image courtesy of Micha Models

Interview Magazine - September 2013
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

Maartje Verhoef
Photographer - Karel Losenicky
Source - thefashionspot.com

Special thanks to Micha Emmering Krijger at Micha Models. For more information on Micha Models, please log onto www.michamodels.com 

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