Mara Martin: Model Mom

by Matthew Dillon

The model, mom, and social media influencer, Mara Martin made headlines and a staggering 200 m impressions almost overnight across the globe by walking the Sports Illustrated runway while breastfeeding her daughter, Aria back in 2018. In that one viral moment, Mara’s statement changed the face of motherhood by helping to normalize breastfeeding. With the platform that infamous strut gave her, Mara has stepped into the role of motherhood advocate, speaking honestly and openly about her own experiences as a mom and her hopes for the future of breastfeeding. She was named a Top 100 Changemaker, Top 30 Mothers of Influence, and has spoken on numerous panels across the U.S.

about motherhood and female empowerment. Fast forward to the present day and Mara has turned motherhood into a major brand; signed with Wilhelmina, one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world, the star has turned that catwalk notoriety into a major business which will see her 2021 filled with exciting announcements from her own product, fashion and beauty lines to books. Mara is using her authentic community that she has built to build a career that will no doubt expand based on her no-filter approach and see her star burn brighter for years to come. Local Palm Beach ‘Woman About Town. Mara sits down and takes us back to the catwalk and updates us on life and teases about what is ahead as well as giving us ani nside look at the best of Palm Beach.

Q: Your rise to notoriety since your 2018 ‘Sports Illustrated’ runway viral moment has been remarkable, What do you attribute this to?

MM: Since then, it’s been a lot of hard work and determination. After I went viral, I was given so many incredible opportunities and it essentially changed the path of my life and career. After receiving a whirlwind of press around the world, I found myself ringing the New York Stock Exchange Bell, speaking on panels around the country, working with the United Nations, Save the Children and Best Buddies, walking in New York Fashion week, I could go on and on. I knew right away that going viral does not happen to a lot of people so I wanted to not only ride the wave but make a difference as well. I was given this amazing platform and decided that I was going to use it for good and to continue to inspire women around the world.

Q: What was the runway moment like for you? Now years later, would you change anything?

MM: At the time I did not really understand the magnitude of that moment and how many people it would resonate with. I was a new mom and because breastfeeding was such a huge part of my every day, it didn’t feel like I did anything special. But the more time I had to reflect on it and after receiving thousands and thousands of messages and letters from men and women around the world, I started to understand. That moment was a chance to normalize breastfeeding, a chance to show women that we can continue to chase our dreams at any age, even while being mothers, and it was an amazing example of how we as women should love our bodies for everything they can do and at every stage-especially postpartum.

Q: Your rise to notoriety since your 2018 ‘Sports Illustrated’ runway viral moment has been remarkable, What do you attribute this to?

MM: Since then, it’s been a lot of hard work and determination. After I went viral, I was given so many incredible opportunities and it essentially changed the path of my life and career. After receiving a whirlwind of press around the world, I found myself ringing the New York Stock Exchange Bell, speaking on panels around the country, working with the United Nations, Save the Children and Best Buddies, walking in New York Fashion week, I could go on and on. I knew right away that going viral does not happen to a lot of people so I wanted to not only ride the wave but make a difference as well. I was given this amazing platform and decided that I was going to use it for good and to continue to inspire women around the world.

Q: What was the runway moment like for you? Now years later, would you change anything?

MM: At the time I did not really understand the magnitude of that moment and how many people it would resonate with. I was a new mom and because breastfeeding was such a huge part of my every day, it didn’t feel like I did anything special. But the more time I had to reflect on it and after receiving thousands and thousands of messages and letters from men and women around the world, I started to understand. That moment was a chance to normalize breastfeeding, a chance to show women that we can continue to chase our dreams at any age, even while being mothers, and it was an amazing example of how we as women should love our bodies for everything they can do and at every stage-especially postpartum.

Q: How important is the role of motherhood and does the local community factor in?

MM: I truly believe that being a mother is the hardest but most important and rewarding job in the world. To think we are shaping the next generation is so amazing to think about. Being able to see my daughter hit major milestones and express her love to us has been so special to watch. Becoming a mother will always be my proudest accomplishment. But with that being said, motherhood also has its challenges. It’s been so helpful leaning on the community though when motherhood gets tough. I have found incredible mom groups via social media that help with questions we may have during different stages. It’s important to be able to have people to lean on through it all and I’m lucky to have a great group of moms to help me through the not-so-glamorous stages of motherhood.

Q: Building a brand during a pandemic looked extremely different for many of us. How did it affect you as a mom and the brand you are building?

MM: I think it’s safe to say Covid really changed a lot of things for everyone. We all had to incorporate our work more at home and juggle both parenting and work-life at the same time. I will be first the first to admit that it wasn’t always easy. But during Covid and being at home more taught me really to be present and not take any opportunity for granted. Since going viral, we had been traveling almost on a weekly basis, so getting that chance to stay home for a bit and really be present in my day-to-day life was actually a nice change. I had to find new ways to build my brand, and I actually enjoyed showing more real-life things that go on daily in our house.

Q: How is 2021 going to look for Mara Martin? What can readers expect from you?

MM: I had been working on a ton of projects that kind of took a backseat and sudden halt once COVID-19 hit, so I’m excited to get back at it and see some of these projects come to fruition. I hope to finish the book I’ve been working on for almost two years and continue to grow my brand and inspire women everywhere.  I think 2021 is going to be quite the year!

Q:  As one of Palm Beach’s most visible residents what is about PB that attracts you the most?

MM: Palm Beach really has everything you could possibly ask for. The beaches have some of the clearest water, there is amazing shopping, great restaurants, and it truly feels like your on vacation every single day because of the weather. I have lived all over the country from Michigan, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, and I have to say Palm Beach is my favorite.

Q:  Favorite Palm Beach restaurant?

MM: There are way too many to choose from to just choose one! So my top choices are Flagler Steakhouse for the best steak and Bice has the best pasta and beautiful outdoor seating area great for Instagram-worthy pictures.  The love Sant Ambroeus for their gelato and if you travel a little south, Lionfish has my favorite brunch!

Q: Best beauty treatment in town?

MM: I haven’t had time to try any of the spas out just yet because of Covid this last year, but I have heard amazing things about The Spa at the Breakers and Palm Beach Facials on Worth Avenue. Definitely can’t wait to get a facial and massage as soon as I have a day off.

Q: Best staycation in PB?

MM: We love doing staycations here in Palm Beach. Two of my favorite places are The Brazilian Court and a newer hotel called The White Elephant. Both have incredible amenities and really give you a feeling like you truly on vacation, even if you live just a few miles away like me.

Q: What’s next for Mara Martin?

MM: All I can say is that 2021 has a lot in store for me. And I’m just getting started! Stay tuned.


Photographer: Helen Le Van

Wardrobe Stylist: Kenya Mitchell

Hair and Makeup: Peggy Mackey

PR: Matt Dillon

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