Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
A few minutes with Houston's Britt Maren: Fashion's next top model
It's been a standout season for former Houston model Maren Stavinoha, who goes professionally by the name Britt Maren. Since moving to New York, she has charged into the top echelon of runway models.
Her big break came when Alexander Wang picked her to open his spring 2011 show last September. Her career received another big boost a few weeks later when stylist Guido Palau chopped off her waist-length hair and bleached it backstage at Balenciaga in Paris before she hit the catwalk for the influential French fashion house.
She won raves for the new 'do, which was featured on the runways at Hermès, Lanvin and Chanel, and she was picked as fashion's new "it girl" in the January issue of Vogue magazine.
Now a brunette (the night before last Saturday's Wang show, stylist Lena Ott dyed her hair a chocolate brown), she has walked the runways at Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs and other top shows this week.
Before catching a plane for London Friday for the start of the European runway shows, she took a few minutes to talk to CultureMap via e-mail.
CultureMap: How many shows are you doing this week?
Britt Maren: I did about 10 shows in NY this week. Not too many, but enough to keep me busy.
CM: Then, I guess, it's on to Europe. What shows do you have confirmed there?
BM: I leave for London today, where I am doing Tom Ford. Not sure beyond that... We'll see!
CM: How do you get from one show to another in New York so quickly?
BM: Having been in NYC a while now, I'm pretty good at getting around on my own. If I have time, I walk or take the subway. A lot of times it is faster than sitting in traffic in a cab. Other times, you're running super late, and you have to take a car.
CM: What did you think when Guido Palau cut you hair before the Balenciaga show last season?
BM: At first it was quite shocking. Probably the color even more so than the cut. It is just so bright compared to my darker blonde. It took a bit of getting used to, but now I love it!
CM : But that really seemed to accelerate your runway career.
BM: Yeah, it definitely made a huge difference. I think it helped me stand out a bit from other models, and gave me a fresh "new" start.
CM: All those shows during fashion week must do great damage to your hair. How do you keep it healthy?
BM: There's definitely a lot of product being used on your hair during fashion week: hairspray, glue/extensions, mousse, etc. Luckily, now that I have shorter hair, I don't seem to have to go through as much as some of the other girls.
CM: What's the biggest misconception about the modeling business?
BM: That it is all glamorous all the time. I mean it definitely has its perks (traveling to amazing places, meeting great people), but sometimes the stress of busy traveling schedules, early call times, etc., can really get to you.
CM: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a model?
BM: Be patient and work hard for what you want!
CM: What's next on your agenda after the European shows?
BM: Hopefully relax a little bit! Maybe a massage and facial, because I assume my body will be quite run down.
CM: What do you miss most about Houston?
BM: My friends and family! I love going to visit them whenever I can :)