Q & A with Josie Maran: Sports Illustrated Model to Eco-Entrepreneur

Raised in a bohemian household in Northern California, Josie Maran grew up appreciating natural, unpretentious beauty. At the time, makeup—heavy and mask-like—seemed anything but pretty to her. Following her mother's lead, Maran opted to avoid cosmetics altogether.

She began modeling at age 12, after being discovered at a family friend's barbecue. Maran quickly earned a name for herself by landing some of the most coveted jobs in the business, including the cover of Glamour magazine (she would go on to grace it five more times) and a stint as the iconic Guess girl. Soon, she was appearing regularly in top fashion magazines including Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, and Mademoiselle, and was featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue three years in a row. Maran also made a successful transition into acting, appearing in feature films including Little Black Book, Van Helsing, and The Aviator.

But it was the birth of her first child that jumpstarted her latest endeavor. Maran explains, "Becoming a mother inspired me to take a look at my life and ask, 'What can I do for the world? How can I contribute?'" Having spent so many hours in the makeup chair, she was ready to create her own signature line. The result, Josie Maran Cosmetics—housed in chic, biodegradable packaging—embraces eco-friendly initiatives wherever possible.

"I want to contribute to making positive change, and I also want to create something fun, beautiful, and luxurious," Maran says. "My dream is to build a brand with so much influence and popularity that my customers and I can work together to make the world a better place."

MindBodyGreen: How did you go from a Sports Illustrated model to an entrepreneur?

Josie Maran: When I was pregnant with my daughter a few years ago, I decided to look for natural makeup formulas to use and discovered that none lived up to the levels of sophistication and luxury I wanted. Then I realized that after spending so many hundreds of hours in the makeup chair, I was uniquely qualified to create my own line of cosmetics, the type of makeup that I was searching for: chic, luxurious, and—most important—healthy. Not long after the birth of my daughter, Josie Maran Cosmetics was born.

MBG: Were you always committed to wellness/green living?

JM: I was born into a family that cares about environmental and social issues, so you could say my awareness of environmental issues was just a natural part of my upbringing. My father is a green builder; my mother, an artist; my grandmother, a human-rights activist/professor at UC Berkeley. We were always into a socially conscious way of living. But I do feel that having a daughter of my own has led me to a whole new "eco-awakening"—inspiring me to be even more conscious of our impact on the environment.

MBG: How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?

JM: I jump out of bed to make some fresh organic coffee, brush my teeth, and then clean my face with Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes. To save water, I don't turn on the faucet to wash my face. I proceed to do my makeup in about five minutes. I curl my lashes, rub Josie Maran tinted moisturizer all over, dab a little Josie Maran Finger Paints in "Lovely" on my eyes and cheeks, and finish with Josie Maran lip gloss in "Compassion." Then I'm all set to go!

MBG: How has being a mom changed your perception about living healthier and greener?

JM: When I was pregnant with my daughter, Rumi Joon, I became more aware of what I put on and in my body. I was worried about the toxins in cosmetics, soaps, and food. I wanted to be sure that my body was as healthy it could possibly be for my baby. Now, as she's growing, we continue to use products that are natural and safe.

MBG: How did you lose weight after giving birth?

JM: I did yoga daily and really watched what I ate. I was no longer eating for two, so I monitored everything I consumed.

MBG: What is your workout/diet routine?

JM: I exercise by doing yoga, and if possible, I walk instead of driving. Also, eating healthy is so important—I try to eat organic, vegan, and vegetarian as much as possible.

MBG: There's a lot of focus on how women look and what it means to be "beautiful." How do you define beauty? If there's one message you'd like to promote to girls and women of all ages, what would it be?

JM: It's not what makes a woman beautiful, it's what a woman makes beautiful. I think beauty comes from within and it's up to women to take care of themselves inside—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And then her beauty will shine through. Keep it simple, and let your natural beauty shine through.

MBG: What product are you most proud of?

JM: Our argan oil. It is housed in a recyclable glass bottle and is purchased from women's cooperatives in Morocco, thereby supporting their social and economic welfare. These cooperatives also work within a UNESCO biosphere reserve, which ensures the protection and reforestation of argan trees.

MBG: What's green about your packaging?

JM: All the Josie Maran Cosmetics compacts are biodegradable. The plastic tubing for the tinted moisturizer is recyclable, as are the glass bottles for the argan oil.

MBG: What's the biggest misconception people have about living a healthier and greener life?

JM: That it's hard! Transitioning into a greener lifestyle can be simple—switching to a more energy-efficient lightbulb or appliance, shopping at secondhand stores, and even using biodegradable diapers and natural products, for example! A lot of people don't want to sacrifice quality for products that are also good for the environment, but they don't have to. That's what Josie Maran Cosmetics is all about—it's luxury cosmetics, with a conscience!

MBG: Who inspires you?

JM: My mom has always influenced my style and sense of beauty, and of course, my daughter is my biggest inspiration.

MBG: Favorite guilty indulgence?

JM: Pizza!

For more on Josie Maran and Josie Maran Cosmetics:

Josie Maran Cosmetics


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