For model Marland Backus, design was in her blood. Raised in Park Slope by her mother and assistant director father, the Pratt Institute alum is a budding industrial designer whose star turn in the Celine Winter 2019 campaign is trending on Models.com. When she’s not treading the catwalk, she can be found working on her jewelry line inspired by her travels to exotic locales around the world.

While enrolled in the Industrial Design program at Pratt Institute you rejected offers to model. Were you ever tempted to drop out and see how modeling panned out at the time?

It never even crossed my mind! I was totally focused on my design work at the time.

Talk to us about your design sensibility.

I try not to think about what people would buy or even what they would wear. I try to come up with things I’ve never seen before and I don’t ever limit myself by material or style. A lot of my pieces are very different but I still somehow feel they all have a similar vein running through them.

What designers have had the greatest influence on you?

I really try to look all over for inspiration but two jewelry designers I really love are Joyce J Scott and Richard Mawdsley.

Talk to us about the materials you prefer to use when creating your work.

Recently I’ve been working a lot with beads and a bead loom, weaving images and patterns out of beads.

Talk to us about your process when creating your jewelry.

Some of my pieces require a lot of problem solving and prototyping and others just require 20 plus hours working on the bead loom.

Since you started modeling has it influenced your own designs?

Traveling has really influenced my work. I love looking at traditional clothing and jewelry for inspiration, and I have gotten a lot of inspiration from my trips to places like Morocco, South Korea, and Japan.

Your Celine campaign is trending on Models.com. How did you feel when you found out?

Surprised!

What does life after modeling look like for you?

I don’t even know what life after next month looks like. I take it as it comes.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m learning Japanese.

Follow @marzipanjuniper @marlandbackus 

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