Such a neat article on a student at the High School I teach at–
— Teen Vogue
Sixteen is undoubtedly a very sweet year during which many of us come into our own. It’s also an age of firsts, with prom serving as a proverbial rite of passage and a driver’s license ushering in a new era of relative freedom. No longer an unknowing underclassman attempting to blend in with the crowd, it’s finally time to carve your own path and establish a unique identity.
For Iowa native Maggie Jablonski — a high school junior who manages to squeeze in homework between fashion shows and photoshoots — the process of self-discovery carries a bit more weight than for your average teen. “I did Marc Jacobs that season that he had black, short wigs,” she said, referring to the designer’s spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection. “Ever since then, I wanted a black, short cut so bad.” Unlike most impulsive adolescents, Maggie didn’t immediately indulge her beauty fantasies by hacking off her honey brown hair and grabbing a box of inky dye at the drugstore. When you serve as the face for labels like Prada (she appeared in the house’s spring ’14 campaign with strands temporarily tinted brown-black) and walk the runway at Chanel, Phillip Lim, Sonia Rykiel, and Vivienne Westwood, tweaking your look can result in major career consequences.
But after the idea of lopping off her length and opting for a rich shade of espresso was planted by Maggie’s team in the U.K., a “big meeting” was set up with not one, but three agents at The Society in New York City (a company that represents catwalkers like Kendall Jenner, Natalie Westling, and Lindsey Wixson) to strategize. “The idea was to go back to my natural self as opposed to being someone I wasn’t,” Maggie explained, which sounds fairly simple…if you weren’t discovered at the ripe age of 12 and spent your formative years flat ironing your curls into submission every morning. “When I was younger, I hated my curls, because my oldest sister has straight hair, and I would be so jealous. I was like, ‘Why can’t I have this easy head of hair to deal with?’” said the model. After scanning through images of potential muses like Madonna, Daria Werbowy, Jacquelyn Jablonski (no relation), and Mica Arganaraz, a vision was conceived and mane master Michael Angelo at Wonderland Beauty Parlor was put in charge of its execution. Four hours, a few inches, and a “power read” through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows later, “perfect little spirals” had seemingly sprung up above Maggie’s shoulders.
Seeing as hair is intrinsically tied to one’s identity, Maggie not only rediscovered her texture, but tapped into a new side of herself: “It’s given me a new personality that I get to explore,” she said. “I feel a little bit more like a rockstar than I did before.” Naturally, a new cut and color are only half of the equation, as she traded in her basic black eyeliner for bold strokes of blue and subtle bands of brown. She also keeps her cropped Acne jeans and a denim romper on heavy rotation — drawing style inspiration from her “sort of boyfriend” currently living in London,Reese Cooper (also a rising star in the fashion scene). And the reactions she’s received thus far from her classmates and casting directors is overwhelmingly positive: “I only went to three days of school [before I had to leave for NYC], but everyone said, ‘Wow, this is so different!’ In Iowa there aren’t that many crazy events that happen,” she laughed. Industry insiders also recognized the change, but not having seen her curls before, many asked if she got a perm, to which she replied, “No, this is just me!”
And being you — whatever that entails — is the message many designers are trying to project after years of recruiting ranks of similar-looking models. “At the Louis Vuitton Cruise show, there were girls with straight hair; there were girls with curly hair; there were girls with pink hair; there were girls with shaved heads — everyone was embraced and that’s why it was cool,” said Maggie, referring to distinctive faces like Tamy Glauser and Fernanda Hin Lin Ly who were cast not only as catwalkers, but as characters. “Maybe they’re trying to show that it’s not just tall, skinny girls with long hair who can wear these clothes — it’s girls from all over, all different ethnicities, all different hair colors, and all different hair types.” Though the spring 2016 season is only just beginning, Maggie is hoping this idea of inclusiveness will continue to trend, and her curls, cut, and fresh color will be welcomed with open arms…and remain sans extensions. The only place she plans to slightly conform and stick to tradition is prom, noting that she’ll take her Brit-based beau as her date under one condition: He has to be “willing to wear a suit.” Otherwise, breaking the mold — and marching down the runway to the beat of her own drum — is on Maggie’s agenda.