The Permanence of the Self
We sit down with model Maggie Maurer to discuss the voice of a model on set, the permanence of the self, and a beauty that develops over time.
INTERVIEW MAXINE LEONARD
How did you begin modelling?
Five years ago, my friend Tom Newton sent some photos of me to Elmer Olsen Models in Toronto – without telling me. They called me at work, and about a month later I had my first exclusive for Calvin Klein.
When you were growing up was the fashion industry something you had always dreamed of working in?
What was your first commission?
The pressures to be moulded, and the expectations created by regularly seeing models, present a real challenge to young girls. What advice can you give to models starting out at the beginning of their career?
You have to know who you are. I never wanted this industry to mould my character. Luckily I was 25 when I started, so I had a pretty good sense of my own self. Even then, it was hard. Do what you want with people that you like and always be yourself. You have to live with yourself at the end of the day, so it’s important you like who you are.
Has modelling changed how you see yourself and your idea of beauty?
It has not changed how I see myself – it has allowed me to be myself. My idea of beauty has never been conventional, and I don’t think it ever will be.
You collaborated with Sølve Sundsbø and Stephane Marais for Beauty Papers. What was this experience like for you?
It was amazing. I felt really involved in the process and am honoured to work with two people that have created iconic images for so long. What we did together will always hold a very special place with me. Absolute legends.
When working editorially, how do you connect with the character you are expected to channel?
The people around me are always the source of my energy. They can bring things out of me I didn’t even know was there.
Do you feel the voice of the model is heard on set?
I feel it is the model’s responsibility to have their voice heard.
What is your obsession?
I am a little bit obsessed with sexual conversations; I find it so interesting in all aspects.
What has been a career highlight so far?
The only goal I ever set for myself when I started doing this was to work with Tim Walker. That happened this year, and it was beautiful.
What is beautiful to you?
Moments. You know when you don’t know someone very well – or at all – and maybe you don’t think about them in a sense of beauty. And then you start to get to know them, and all of the sudden you find small details about them very endearing? Like the way they use their hands, or blink, or laugh, or say a certain word. This is beautiful.
What’s next on your journey?
I will let you know when I get there.