MODEL MODE: Marinet Matthee


TWITTER: @marinetmatthee
INSTAGRAM: @marinetmatthee

How did you get into modeling? Were you discovered? Tell us your story!

Every year, my high school had a pageant competition, and after entering with pressure from my mom (she always entered me into all sorts of competitions), I didn’t make it to the top 20, so some of us volunteered to parade some of the local designers clothes while the contestants were changing for the next part of the night. That night, after the pageant, the owner of a Cape Town agency scouted me. I got braces, finished school, and started traveling immediately, and so my journey began.

Who have you modeled for?

Vogue Turkey, Vogue Netherlands, Harpers Bazaar Greece, Harpers Bazaar UK, numerous Elle’s and Glamour’s, H&M, Macy’s, Harrods, L’ official, Polo Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Norma Kamali, Bloomingdales, Saks, Sportswear International Magazine, J Mendel, Jonathan Simkhai, and many more!


You grew up in South Africa (WAY COOL!). What’s the biggest difference between New York and Cape Town—cultural or otherwise?

Oh there’s so many! But I think the biggest difference is the people and the fast-paced lifestyle. Capetonians are super laid back, and life is always good if you are going to the beach everyday after work! I get re-energized by nature, so in Cape Town, I never feel the need to escape somewhere to refuel, because I’m surrounded by open air and nature from every angle. Here in NYC, there is so much hustle and bustle along with such a big variety of people and different cultures — which is super intriguing — but when you are having a bad day, this crazy city gets to you.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

Definitely our braais! And I don’t even eat meat anymore. But it’s the vibe that I miss of sun, loved ones, drinks, smokes, laughter, and delicious food prepared on the fire.

What do you love most about New York?

This city pushes you beyond your comfort level to seek what it is you are passionate about, and to really express yourself, because there are so many different kinds of people from different backgrounds and cultures here. There is so much to learn and experience.

What’s been the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in modeling?

To keep on going even when the going gets tough. And I think it will always be a learning curve for me to not take things personally.

Best photo shoot you’ve ever done?

I think all shoots are different, and can’t be compared. For me, it’s mostly the people I’m working with and the vibe on set that makes the shoot memorable. I’ve been very fortunate with the amazing people I’ve gotten to know on set. The best shoots for me are honestly the ones that you walk away from, and you feel confident, energized, and inspired.

Worst/most awkward modeling experience?

I don’t think anything is awkward for me on set anymore. I’m so clumsy, and I’ve learned to just laugh at everything instead. It’s often the awkward and ‘ worst’ that pushes you to create some really beautiful pictures.


How do you maintain your girlish figure? Any tips?

Everything for me is about trying to create a balance. I try not to think about it too much. So I eat what I want, and try to do different fun activities that aren’t just me jogging on a treadmill. But mostly, I love ‘African’ dancing, so I probably spend more time doing that in my house than anything else. 

If you could do a shoot with any other model, who would it be?

Cat McNeil. 

If you could do a campaign with any brand, what would it be?

Anthony Vaccarello and Saint Laurent.

Who is your idol?

I think humans worship other humans for superficial reasons, and some even follow a path that is similar to someone they’ve never met, because of this idea they have of them and their lifestyle. I don’t believe in that, but I do admire a few people because of their pure and beautiful hearts; people who have personally influenced my life in some way. There are different qualities that people have that I respect, and strive to be more like, and those are the people I choose to surround myself with. 
We can learn so much by just looking around us, and that’s enough for me to see what I want and don’t want for myself.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

Black. Comfortable. Leather. Sneakers.


Favorite brand/line right now?

Anthony Vaccarello.

Go-to clothing item/accessory?


Current must-have beauty product?

Koh Gen Do face wash. It’s this Japanese face wash that makes your face feel like baby butt.

Go-to nail color?


If you could only wear one type of makeup for a shoot (mascara, foundation, lipstick, etc.), what would it be?

Contouring powder.

What can’t you live without?

Air and water in all forms.

Are you dating?

Newly added to the singles list.


Coffee order?

I’m a coffee snob, so I won’t order from anywhere, but definitely a latte with an extra shot and lots of sugar.

Go-to Instagram filter?

I don’t really have a favorite filter. Whatever works.

What makes you feel beautiful?

Laughing out of my stomach, and the happiness I feel from the little things in life.

What makes you feel badass?

Bringing happiness and laughter to the ones I love.

What’s your vice? 

Tequila, and cigarettes, and too much coffee.


Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Elliphant. (X100000)

What’s the theme song to your life right now?

Down on Life or One More by Elliphant.

What do you do besides modeling – for work, play, or hobby?

I LOVE reading and writing. It’s mostly for myself, but starting this blog is pushing me to be more vocal about it. I’m also taking courses online that interest me about the human mind/behavior and political science.

What would you be doing career-wise if you weren’t modeling?

This is such a hard question, because I’ve always been interested in a lot of things. But, I’m really passionate in music, human behavior, political science, and helping people.

Five year plan?

What a heavy question. I think that we evolve daily by the people and the environment we surround ourselves with, and almost always along the way, new paths are opened for us. Especially in our twenties, we really get to know more about what we want, like, and love. So Universe — surprise me! But it will include my own organization supporting a cause I strongly believe in, and since there’s so many, hopefully with time, it will become more clear to me.

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

Take any criticism with a grain of salt or as constructive criticism. You will never be liked by everyone so don’t let that affect your confidence and self image.


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