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Maggie Rizer on Supermodeldom, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows—And Nailing a Sexy Driver’s License Photo

Francesco Clark, the super-inspiring founder of Clark's Botanicals and author of Walking Papers, started his his truly amazing skincare line (ok, skincare plus some pretty incredible lip glosses) out of necessity. In search of a treatment for his chronically irritated skin (a side effect of losing the ability to both walk and sweat after a tragic diving accident), Clark began developing all-natural, botanically derived solutions of his own. Not only will Francesco be guest-blogging for us all week (he's interviewing everyone from Rosie to Peter Som), but this month only, Clarksbotanicals.com is offering an exclusive 35 percent off to Lucky readers with the code "LUCKYBREAKS2".

I have always loved a natural beauty, and then when I met supermodel Maggie Rizer, she blew me away because she was so nice and intelligent. Her energy is contagious; I found I had unknowingly followed her career from the beginning.

I feel lucky to call her a friend—and lucky to have had her as the face of Clark’s Botanicals Cellular Lifting Serum.

And she’s so easy to talk to!

Francesco: So you’ve been on the cover of Vogue, Italian Vogue, Japanese Vogue, German Vogue, multiple times. That’s a lot of Vogues! What was it like to do your first fashion magazine cover? How was it different from what you expected? Do you have a favorite cover? I vividly remember your Vogue cover with Kate Moss.

Maggie: Covers are always fun! It's a very satisfying feeling. My first cover was the couture issue of Italian Vogue in the summer of 1997, shot by Steven Meisel. The entire three-day shoot was such a strange experience: There I was, covered head to toe in what felt like vampire makeup, dressed in the most bizarre clothing, and looking (I thought at the time) frighteningly ugly. (Luckily I would come to learn the beauty of fashion.) Shooting the cover was the most understandable part of the three days for me. My position and facial expression seemed, at the least, approachable—compared to what we’d been doing up to that point. There was that, and I think they let me take my heels off for that picture!

Francesco: You’ve always been such a natural beauty. I remember when we first met at my birthday dinner with fashion designers Costello Tagliapietra, my sister whipped out a camera to take some shots, and I saw you go from Casual Maggie to Supermodel Maggie in the flash of an eye. You kind of Blue-Steeled the camera, and I have to say you knew exactly where the camera angle was and how you should position yourself. It was awesome! What are some little tricks you can give to readers of how to take a good photo? Your driver’s license must be killer, by the way.

Maggie: You’re too sweet! That was a fun birthday! My driver's license is pretty hot, I must admit:) Tricks – yes: Don’t TRY to look sexy or overly glamorous. So often you see girls who will drop their chin to their chest, open their mouth wide and give a squinty “I think I’m doing a sexy look” eye. It doesn’t look good, just embarrassing. The same goes with glam—girls try to replicate what they see in other people’s photos, but it’s not about other people. My DO tricks would be to truly feel the emotion you’re trying to portray. If you’re feeling it, then chances are you’re looking it. Be confident, not afraid to transform yourself into a glamorous, sexy, proud or strong woman. Confidence will get you everywhere. I've spent years watching my emotions play out in photos and when I’m not feeling it—it shows!

Francesco: Let’s discuss fashion runway. You’ve walked more in shows than the last Olympic marathon runner. Did you need to learn to “walk,” or did you just think “sexy-sexy” as you went down the Prada catwalk? Is it a state of mind? What’s it like backstage?

Maggie: “Sexy-Sexy” came but I was not born that way! When I first started modeling I couldn’t walk in heels to save my life! I spent my life in flip-flops and Doc Martens until I set foot in a modeling agency and let me tell you—no one was impressed! I was even embarrassed by my lack of heel ability! My agent somehow convinced me to buy the highest pair of heels I could (I got the most amazing crocodile-skin black Manolos, which I adored) and walk in them until my feet fell off … well, I did and it worked! Now I can proudly strut in every and any heel tossed my way. I still choose flip-flops 99 percent of the time—much more practical! Once you put together the hair, makeup, music and clothing, your walk kind of follows. Backstage is a much better place to be before a show than the front of the house. Everyone backstage is motivated and gearing up to support the designer and put on the best show possible! It’s like being on a team before a big game—adrenaline and anxiety to get going!

Francesco: You walked in one of the first Victoria’s Secret fashion shows in New York City, and I remember it so vividly, mainly because it felt like all the biggest names in modeling were walking. I was working at Harper’s Bazaar as a fashion assistant and was sitting front-row (I was a seat filler for a no-show - nothing fancy), and there were these mini, loose snowflakes all along the runway. I remember you, Gisele, Karolina Kurkova and Carmen Kass walking, and with every sashay all these crystals would spray over the audience, which was awesome. How do you prepare for something like that? I mean, you’re about to walk a runway that is not only televised, but you’re also practically naked! Did you get to keep your wings?

Maggie: Victoria’s Secret shows are so elaborate and lots of fun! It’s such a huge performance with so much hype behind it! I suppose if you’re not prepared way in advance—nothing is going to prepare you for walking down the runway in wings and little else! Luckily I was in pretty good shape and wasn't too concerned about my butt hanging out (which it was) or my boobs (they're little) flying around. I do remember being very focused on making sure I had lots of lotion on, apparently my skin was dry that day! I also think a good tan is always a plus when walking around mostly naked. Tans seem to make everything look healthier! I sadly did not get to keep my wings but to be honest—they’re awfully heavy! I’m also not sure they’d go with my house.

Francesco: Have you ever had a crazy story the night before a big shoot? Did you ever break out with acne the day of? What are your secret weapons to look your prettiest?

Maggie: The worst/craziest story the day before a shoot didn't end well. I was in Mexico (Mexico City on a layover) on my way home with a team from a job we were shooting for British Vogue in Baja. I had a shoot the following day in upstate New York for Italian Vogue, which meant three flights and a four-hour drive were between my first job (Baja) and second (upstate) in one day. In some insane set of circumstances I missed three flights (all in Mexico City along with half the team) and did not make it to my job in New York. The worst part is, I never ever miss flights and although it seems fairly questionable on my part, I was completely not at fault! The photographer I was supposed to work with was less than pleased, as you could imagine.
I can never predict what my skin is going to do! With all the makeup and product that comes on and off my skin, it occasionally has a nervous breakdown and needs a lot of TLC! Lately my secret weapon and favorite go-to remedy is Clark’s Botanicals new Intense Radiance Mask. It helps make your skin look like it’s glowing—as if you just had a facial!

Francesco: How many times have you changed the color of your hair and what color is it now? You knew I’d ask!

Maggie: I change my haircolor a million times a year! I get bored when I have the same color for too long and a little change I think is always good! I’ve been every color under the sun from blonde, red, strawberry, brunette (that was quick), black (a day), platinum, sandy, auburn, neon orange … and so on. I change my hair along with my skin and the seasons. Summer I have more of a tan and lighten my hair. In the fall I start getting paler and add red tones. The winter brings my palest see-through skin and I like to go a deeper red/sometimes auburn. Spring brings the dream of freckles and warmer skin to my head, so along comes strawberry! I'm a strawberry blonde heading blonder these days! Recently I've been enjoying lowlights along with my highlights … my colorist never gets bored with me!



More from interviews by Francesco Clark:

Rosie O'Donnell
Jeanine Lobell
Nate Berkus
Peter Som

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