Marianne Bittencourt @ Karacter
Marianne is a rarity. A special combination of a smiley girl and a powerful woman. She has this ability to change and transform herself into every mood without ever loosing her sense of self. A young girl that reflects her broad working experience in the way she presents herself even without words.
Starting from the beginning. Did you always want to be a model?
No, it just happened. I never really knew what I wanted to be.
And how did it happen?
A Karacter scouter stopped me in a concert asking me if I would want to participate in their contest...
About fashion, what attracts you the most about this industry?
I think traveling. To meet new things, always new things.
You've made campaigns, editorials, runway, magazine covers (Vogue, GQ Portugal, etc). And you're nineteen! Do you realize how much you've already done compared to girls your age?
I don't think like that because there have already passed so many years since I've started... and I feel like there is still so so SO much progress to be done. I don't compare myself to others. I try to look at my own progress and I think there is still a lot to be done.
In anyway, you have worked a lot. What was the job that had the most impact for you?
There are so many... I don't know... I really liked doing GQ. It was important for me that they gave me the opportunity to be on the cover. It was important because I had already done editorials and covers, but never as "me", always as a model. On this one the editorial was about me, Marianne.
You've been in... remind us about the cities you've travelled to as a model?
Marrakesh, Madrid, Barcelona, London, New York, San Francisco, Milan, Florence, Hamburg, a city in Sweden I can't pronounce, Paris... what more? Ibiza!
And where have you spent the most time from all those?
Milan. I think I was there for about 6/7 months. And I also spent 3 months in NY. I usually stay for about a month abroad at a time.
So, you've been abroad a lot, but we haven't seen many Portuguese girls being able to do the same. Do you have any explanation for this?
They are not able to because they don't try to do it. They don't want to. First, you need a good and trustworthy agency. While you don't, it will be difficult to get someone to invest in you. Then you have to try, and some models don't take risks. Or maybe they don't go to the right market for them. I've also gone through markets that weren't right for me, where I didn't get anything. You need to try, find your market and understand how you can evolve in it. There isn't much of an explanation... they are the same as every other model out there. It has more to do with how they and their agencies deal with their path, I think.
From all these experiences, is there any interesting story you want to share?
Well, my weirdest experience was in Hamburg. I had just finished doing a catalogue for a brand and then the photographer asked me to do a test shoot. All of the team from the catalogue moved to an abandoned house, where they dressed me in a black cat suit and put a lot of volume in my hair. Imagine me in all in black and then with a pink dress over the suit. I never saw those pictures... but I don't really know if I want to! I remember the assistant almost died that day! There was an upper wooden floor and he almost fell on his back! It was terrifying.
Part of your work as a model is going to castings and you've probably heard more "no's" than "yes's". How did you deal with this?
I usually don't think about it much. I do the casting, move on with my life and forget about it. If it is something that was almost confirmed and then I don't get it... then it's a bit rough but I like to think there is always another work to be done. There will always be something better.
People have many misconceptions about the fashion industry. Is there any you would say is absolutely wrong?
My friends think I make thousands and thousands of Euros and that I'm rich. I gain a fairly good amount of money, but not nearly as much as they think! And they think I'm always traveling and enjoying some time abroad doing nothing. And that I don't really do anything (that requires effort) for a living. I swear, they think this!
Yes, we have that idea. That people think that. As you have a lot of experience, what would you tell a girl that wants to become a model?
First, know what you're getting into. If you really love it, take it seriously. If you don't love it, you're wasting your time, because this is a business where you are only able to invest in, if you love it, because you're going to hear a lot of "no's" and "you should change this and that". But the most important thing is to find trustworthy people that can guide you and help you through your career.
And where can they find trustworthy people?
In good agencies and good bookers. Not some of those agencies where you have to pay for your book!
Do you have any routine you do to get ready for a job?
I'm going to the gym almost every day, because I like it and have time for it. I also go to a dermatologist, so I have a skincare routine and follow it.
Do you think this kind of routines is important for models?
Yes, of course. Because if you don't take care of yourself you will always have to hear bad comments about you, from your bookers or from clients. You have to invest in yourself in order to be at your best.
And now about you. Is there something about you people don't usually know?
I like to eat ice!
Hahahha that's a good one! Why?
I don't know, it gives me the same feeling I have when eating a chocolate! It's crispy and great. And I have a thing for James Dean.
And what about hobbies?
I like to read, even though I don't do it often. But when I grab a book I read it in a day. I also like to draw.
Is there a book everyone should read?
The last book I read was "The perks of being a wallflower". Both boys and girls should read it. But the one that I loved the most was "The last letter from your lover" (Jojo Moyes). I don't even know where I found this book. I think it was in Hamburg! It has such an interesting story that mixes past, present and future. A really good read.
And when you're in castings, what do you do?
I look at the other models and think about my life... how I'm getting home, if I should grab a Starbucks afterwords...
What about your future goals?
I would love to have my own apartment in a near future and I would like to live in NY. Career wise, I want to be a better model, like every model wants. And I want to be happy with who I am.
photography Gonçalo M. Catarino
styling Catarina F. Pinto
make up & hair Tiago Figueiredo
model Marianne Bittencourt @ Karacter