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Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/17/2014


Netherlands native Maartje Verhoef walked a staggering 66 shows to earn spring’s top-model crown.


Age: 17
Height: 5 feet, 10.5 inches
Agency: Women Management
Hometown: Veldhoven, Netherlands

This story first appeared in the November 17, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


WWD: How did you react when you found out that you had walked the most shows this season?
Maartje Verhoef:
I didn’t expect to walk this many shows, so when I found out that I had done the most, I was first surprised, and then, of course, really happy. It goes by so quickly; you don’t process it all at once.
 
What were some standout moments for you?
Closing Hermès was a real highlight for me. It was the last show of fashion week, so it felt like bringing the entire month to an end. It was a huge change afterward, as I went from doing a show (or five, ha!) every day for the past month, to finally being able to rest and sleep well that night.
 
What were some of the most stressful moments?
Those days when I had five shows, and fittings in between—without a doubt. I arrived too late at every show, and my makeup and hair had to be done in a few minutes before the show started. That was undoubtedly the most stressful part.
 
Do you have any funny memories from the shows?
Yes, I had a lot of fun backstage with my friend Ine Neefs. The funniest moment was when she would send me crazy videos of herself backstage, and I couldn’t hold in the laughter anymore.
 
What was your favorite hair-and-makeup look?

The natural look! I really like a natural look—not only because I prefer less makeup in general, but this way you can see the real us on the runway.
 
What do you carry with you at all times during fashion week?
A portable charger, always. My phone dies so fast during fashion week, and the days are so long.
 
What do you do backstage to pass the time?
At most of the shows I did this season, two of my best friends [Neefs and Julia Bergshoeff] were there with me backstage. I got to hang out a lot with them backstage to pass the time. And yes, of course, some of the time was spent on
my phone.
 
What did you do after the shows every night?
Sleep! I wish I had a more exciting answer…I was so tired, so I slept a lot.
 
Did you have any good celebrity sightings?
Yes, I got to meet David Beckham backstage at the Victoria Beckham show. I got my picture taken with him, and Victoria posted an image of me on her Instagram. That’s a pretty good sighting.
 
What would be your advice to a model who is walking the runway for the first time?
Practice your walk a lot by watching shows and walking in heels when you’re home, and don’t stress too much. I was so nervous at my first show, but my Mother agent was with me, and she helped me, so that when the show started, I wasn’t stressed or nervous anymore. It’s rare to always have someone with you, but if you focus on people who are positive in your life, it helps with some of
the stress.

Have you learned any lessons about fashion week from when you first started walking in the shows?
I did—especially when I think about the difference between my first show, in 2012, and the shows this season. During my first show, I didn’t understand anything at all. I didn’t quite comprehend what the backstage photographers were doing. Now, I know what is going on and what is expected of me. I think I learned how the shows really work.

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