Marie Meyer, stunning French model, actress and painter, started her modeling career at the age of seventeen, when Ellen Von Unwerth shot her for the Spoon Magazine. Since then, she appeared on magazine covers of many prestigious magazines, such as Elle and Marie-Claire, and in advertisements for giants like Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier. She has been photographed by world leading photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Inez and Vinoodh, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and Jonas Bresnan. Marie has modeled for such designers/brands as Chanel, Hermès, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Comme des Garcons, Junya Watanabe, Maison Martin Margiela, Giorgio Armani and Ungaro among others. This talented young woman also appeared in two prominent movies, Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and Oliver Stone’s “Alexander”.
When did you became interested in modeling? Do you remember your first catwalk?
I was 11 when decided to be a model. I remember we had to fill a blank with the future job we wanted to do, and I wrote „model”.
How did your career develop from that point?
I was 17 when first started modeling. I just walked in an agency in Paris. Then I decided to leave to London and finish my school doing Home School. I came back just for my exam.
Marie Meyer by Jonas Bresnan for Vogue Netherlands
What does fashion mean to you?
For me fashion is a way to be myself, and to spread your energy through your own style. Most of the time people think about fashion in a way of eccentricity, but for me it is more about lines, style and it can be very pure. I like the work of Martin Margiela which represents this purity by keeping the essential.
What is the most satisfying part of modeling for you? What kind of projects are you primarily passionate about?
I love to work in the studio with a designer, especially with Jean Paul. Being a model who wears the clothes and see them built on a body is fascinates me. Also, I like to work with photographer or movie director who are able to capture real emotions.
For years you walked the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier, we have a feeling that you are his muse. Is there any kind of special relation between you and the avant-garde designer?
Funny I just talked about him in the previous question. Maybe the link we have is a passion and simplicity. He’s like a mentor for me. I love his personality, to be around him and to share with him. I love to complete his vision. It’s such an honor every time we worked on a collection, to be his muse. The more we get into the collection, the more I like to get into fusion with his work. For instance, the Indian collection, I was sticking a third eye on my forehead during the fittings and I finish by being the bride of the show. For the last show, he asked me to act Farida Khelfa, and I was completely into the role. I was chewing my gum on the catwalk and giving attitude to the other girls. I love to play with fashion, it is like a game.
Marie Meyer and Jean Paul Gaultier
They often compare you with Lisa Bonet. What do you think about that comparison?
I am very honored. I had a dinner with her and Lenny Kravitz in New York once. She is a beautiful person inside and out.
You have worked many times with Lenny Kravitz. Tell us something about your shootings with him and your work on the Julian Schnabel’s movie “The diving bell and the butterfly”.
Lenny is a close friend. I met him in a shooting we did together for Vogue. Then we came back together in Paris when he bought his house here. I remember the first day we got inside it was still an old Parisian Hotel Particulier. I shared a lot with him through my life, more than work. He has been there in the most important moments of my life. We have a good connection, like unconditional love, intuition and respect. He is also the Godfather of my son. We share taste in art, music, and also respect the same family values.
You also showed up in the Oliver Stone’s movie “Alexander“. Was acting something you wanted to pursue and is there still desire to express yourself in that field?
Yes, I like acting a lot. More than acting I like to express emotions through an image. I don’t like the system so much, I am a bit too wild and connected to myself to let it go in big Hollywood productions. What I love is author movie. I will pursue it my way, but I’m not looking for a big career, I just want to be in the right place.
One thing that maybe fashion audience doesn’t know about you is that you are also a painter. When did you start painting and what is your favorite technique?
I started painting at 18. With my first salary as a model, I remember I went to BHV in Paris to buy 4 colors and a canvas. I started to paint auto portraits. I am inspired by portraits and photography. I use painting like an outlet. I like to express everything I feel, and hide feelings through symbols and colors. As Frida Kalho said, “I like to paint myself because I am the person I know the best.” I also painted moments of my life, about the environment of the hospital. Like the Mexican art “ex voto” who also inspired a lot Frida. Frida is my Master. I never take any art classes, but there is not one day I spend, one canvas I paint without thinking of her. I feel her and thank her.
What has been your favorite work so far?
I love walking on the catwalk. I get into a “trance” moment. Most of the time I don’t even remember the moment. Afterwards, when I watch the video of the show I realize what people see. When I walk, I feel an energy around me, I feel goose bumps, I feel my soul reaching the people in the dark. I love being on stage.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met in the fashion industry?
The most inspiring person for me is Jean Paul Gaultier. Without him, I don’t think I would be able to understand fashion the way he taught me.
What is the biggest misconception about the fashion industry? Is it as glamorous as it seems?
Fashion can be anything, it depends the way you see it. The most difficult part of it is that there is no safety in relations of work, no memory. I mean, you can work with someone and next season they may act like they don’t remember you. People take it bad, but from my experience of being a muse, I know that inspiration is a moment, it can not stay forever. Things have to change. It is the essence of fashion, as much as the essence of life itself.
Marie Meyer for Elle Romania February 2016
How do you balance your personal life and career?
You said a key word in your question: Balance. It is not always easy, because I raise my child by myself, but it is worth it. I am an artist and a model, I know myself, I know it is my path, I already tried to do something else; it didn’t work, lol. At one point, you have to trust yourself, and the universe.
What is the most important lesson you want to learn your son?
I teach my son to listen to himself, and to think positive, forgive, give, don’t judge people and take care of himself.
Marie Meyer with her son
What music are you listening at the moment?
I am listening to the album of Andy Bey, Experience and Judgment. I love to play it in the morning after meditation, when I take a coffee and read my mails. But also when I’m painting. My favorite song is Celestial Blues.
Marie Meyer by Peter Lindbergh
David Bowie is association for…
A trip inside yourself. It is so crazy that I was painting David Bowie few days before he died. I dreamt of him and decided to paint myself sleeping with his eye on top. “Ground control, Major Tom”… for me it’s the trip I love to do between the reality down there and the dimension upon us. I reached a point through art and meditation… I didn’t touched the canvas since the day he died. In the evening, I went to shoot my friend Foster Mickley, photographer. We danced, we drank champagne, and took pictures of each other with David behind. I had the chance to meet David at the show of Lou Reed. Val Kilmer, that I met while working with Oliver Stone in Alexander, got me with him to his show in the warehouse in Brooklyn. David was sitting in front of me and he was shaking his head on the rhythm. I remember saying to myself, don’t ever, ever forget this simple moment, just as it is.
Can you tell us something about your future projects?
I am going to do my next art exhibition soon, I am looking for a gallery right now. I am also working on photography at the moment, shooting portraits of newborns and their relationship with parents. I am going everyday in the Franco-British Maternity of Levallois (near Paris) to capture the first moment of the newborns. It is filling me with love and I feel thankful. I guess, it is a second part of my work, after auto portrait, to turn myself to others. I am going to Marrakech next week to shoot for l’Officiel, and I can’t wait to see Jean-Paul for couture in July.
Vesna Filipovic for Fashionela