Maxim for Wonderland Magazine
"Model Behaviour: Maxim Magnus
“Do I wish there were more trans girls on the runway? Yes of course, but I am here to make a change.” Maxim Magnus has arrived. She’s the industry’s most exciting model around today and has already participated in a public talk with Adwoa Aboah, interviewed on modern womanhood alongside Aboah at Bread & Butter in Berlin. “Adwoa is one of my greatest role models in the industry because she’s not afraid of speaking up about the things she’s passionate about, and as well as being a hot model, she uses her platform to educate people about mental health.”
Having grown up in Belgium and Spain, the 19-year-old transgender model lives in Soho, whilst currently studying at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design. Confident, cool and collected – with enormous sunglasses and impeccable style – Maxim radiates effortless elegance. She tells me one thing she can’t live without is a cashmere jumper, suggesting that you can almost never go wrong with one. Elsewhere recalling a rather extreme workout at Barry’s Bootcamp, while nibbling on a side of fries, she remarks: “What I love doing most, is eating.” Cecconi’s and Hakkasan are her go to hangouts in London.
I ask her if there is something not many people know about her – “I love to act and sing.” Intriguingly she goes on to reveal that if she wasn’t following a career in modelling she would loved to have been a surgeon. It doesn’t stop there. Maxim entertainingly admits that after a couple of drinks, she can’t help but continuously attempt to speak multiple languages, “I’m sure half of the things I say are not correct though.” It transpires she actually speaks four different languages, fluently.
“I always knew something was up and never felt quite right in my body,” she says of being 14; she transitioned aged 18. Courageous and determined, she goes on to tell me that just a month and a half after surgery she was already at a festival. As for modelling, it was never something she thought she could pursue; since signing with London agency Linden Staub, Maxim has ambitions of one day walking for Chanel.
With flawless skin and a glowing complexion, I was dying to know her beauty regime. “I’m very big on skin care and my products are very much based on how my skin is feeling that day. Generally I will use a cleansing oil from Marie-Stella Maris or the cleansing jelly from Glossier. I tend to use quite natural and non-invasive products, because I’m still young. I’m very big on oils, and use a lot of argan, lavender, camomile, and rose oil. All oils that are extremely calming on the skin, and very hydrating too – plus they smell nice so it always feels like I’m at a spa when I’m applying the products.” Noted.
Maxim’s first ever shoot? Valentino. “I remember getting the call for the [Valentino] fitting. They had given me these stunning lambskin, knee-high boots, which were way too small for me, but I really wanted this job – and I knew in order to get it, I would have to fit into these boots. It was about 30 degrees that day and the studio was the size of a shoebox. Getting into the boots was fine, however getting out of them was a struggle and required the help of another model. I was sure I was not going to get the job. I got an email from my agent saying I was booked for the next morning. That was amazing.”
With a huge social media following (19k and counting), Maxim has been in the public eye from the start. Having voiced her concerns on the importance of gender awareness and eduction, I ask if being transgender has influenced the way she views the media. “I think I look at the media differently because I have always been more cautious of the stuff I put out there. I know the internet can be a dark place and a lot of negative things are being said about people like me. The moment I stopped caring about what people thought of me, I just started to post whatever I wanted,” she explains. “The media can really exploit the term transgender, and they will use it as a selling point, and I am very aware of that.”
Maxim’s mother, she adds, is her biggest role model. “She is such a strong woman who taught me a lot of important life lessons, the most important one being, ‘why care about what anyone thinks of you, as long as you’re happy, nothing else matters!’” Has her view of the modelling industry changed since she’s become successful? “Success to me is defined by me feeling good in my body. I don’t think it should be defined by how many jobs or followers you have, or how much money you make. I feel most successful when I feel sexy and confident, because I’ve worked so hard to become the person I am today, and it certainly hasn’t been an easy road. It’s important to stay true to who you are.”
This year is going to be exciting, she reckons, of 2018. “I would love to expand my activism and really do something for my community, other than just speaking up through Instagram. I would love to meet a lot of LGBTQ people and would like for them to share their stories with me. I really want to use my platform to educate more people, and to help those who need it.” It’s evident that Maxim is wildly passionate about making a difference in the industry. “The thing about fashion is that it makes people happy and feel good about themselves, even when a lot of bad things are going on in the world, you can always depend on the fashion industry to take you away from that reality. It helps us escape reality for just a moment.” "