Always follow your dreams! Remaining true to my talents and acting on my own vision of life has brought me so far. Here I’ll proudly share all wishes, photos and other cool material I’m gathering from MD friends: women who follow me, my business and my designs. This is what motivates me to keep dreaming. May it inspire you to live your life to the fullest as well. Dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be!
She started out as a contestant on the Norwegian version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’; a few years later her debut single ‘Sunrise’ reached triple platinum status. But what makes Norwegian/Cuban star Alexandra Joner (27) such a feminine feminist icon is the fearless fun with which she expresses herself; in her singing and acting, but also in her fabulously sexy looks (often wearing marlies|dekkers, of course!). “I am fighting to make ‘sexy’ a positive thing!”
Marlies: When did you first feel the need to express yourself as a performer?
Alexandra: I started to dance when I was a little girl, and I had this big dream: I wanted to be Missy Elliott’s background dancer. I even warned my mom: ‘I’m going to the States as soon as I can!’, and she supported me 100 percent. I danced 24/7, in my sleep, while waiting for the bus. My whole life was dancing.
Marlies: Did you make your dream come true by working very hard?
Alexandra: Absolutely. Also: you can’t be shy! For example, when my dance school had some choreographers come in from the States I took every single class and made sure I stood in the front each time. I knew I was great and I wanted them to notice!
Marlies: I think that’s very inspiring to a lot of women: dare to shine! You’ve never been afraid to be different?
Alexandra: You know, in Norway we have something called janteloven (law of Jante, red.): don’t think you’re special or smarter and better than the rest. In other words, don’t brag!
Marlies: Oh yes, in Holland we use a similar saying: ‘Just act normal, that’s crazy enough!’
Alexandra: Well, I refuse to adhere to that. I’m different and I’m proud of it! When I started out I told every journalist who interviewed me: ‘Watch out, I’m going to take over the world!’.
Marlies: It seems to me you are comfortable expressing your sexuality in your work. (I think it’s one of the reasons we are such a good match!) What are your thoughts on that?
Alexandra: Feminism is big in Norway right now, it’s quite hip even. But there is still a general sense that you shouldn’t be too sexy. So there is an interesting challenge for me, because I like to express my femininity by embracing my sexuality, both in my lyrics and my looks. Basically, I’m fighting to make ‘sexy’ a positive thing!
Marlies: And you are doing such a great job, Alexandra! You make ‘sexy’ look happy, healthy and fun! Most importantly, you look like you truly love yourself.
Alexandra: Yes, loving yourself is number one, always!
When I think of someone who is the embodiment of the highest level of expression, I have to think of German opera superstar Nadja Michael (47). This fearless feminine feminist is absolutely unforgettable in roles like Medea, Salomé and Lady Macbeth, performing phenomenally not just as a singer, but also a dancer and actress. How does she do it?
Marlies: Nadja, what does ‘expression’ mean to you?
Nadja: Thinking about it carefully, I believe ‘Express yourself’ should not be an action. Expressing ourselves happens without willingly doing something. Each word that passes our lips, each choice we make is part of the picture we draw of ourselves to be read by others around us. Effortless expression shows when a person is in harmony with his or her pure and truthful inner self. Pure truth will shine through: pure expression without creation.
Marlies: Speaking of ‘shining through’, whatever role you play, your own charisma shines through very strong. How do you make each role your own?
Nadja: That is very easy to me. I start to love the character as if it were me and imagine all actions as if they were going to happen to this new me, right now. I believe that Medea, Salomé, Elektra, Isolde and Lady Macbeth are women like any other women on earth; maybe some of them with extra skills, put into extreme circumstances. Actually, a lot of these circumstances can easily be translated into modern subjects. Murder, crime or suicide can sometimes seem like the only way to deal with the circumstances. I embrace my characters completely and to a certain degree I even become them.
Marlies: I totally see that! How did you get into singing? I heard you grew up in a very loving and musical family.
Nadja: I grew up in east Germany with four siblings. There was a lot of work and oppression, but also joy, playfulness and love. My mum was always singing, pop music mostly. At only 3 years old I already saw clearly that singing is the most wonderful expression of pure soul within us. I had no choice: I had to become a singer! Opera, of course, I discovered a little later. But again, the pure sound of soul drew me into it.
Marlies: How did you discover opera?
Nadja: When I was 16, I was blessed to witness a marvellous concert in the famous Leipziger Gewandhaus: Mahler’s 8th Symphony. Marlies, you have to experience that symphony! Everybody should! Imagine, a thousand voices singing about eternity and the power of womanhood: the power to create life. It blew me away. And at that moment it became very clear that I had to sing classical music. To this day, this music is like the Holy Grail to me.
Marlies: You were originally a competitive swimmer, and now your body is very much your instrument. Can you tell me about your relationship with your body, how you train it and how you relax?
Nadja: My body is me, I am my body. My body expresses through physical incarnation how I lean towards life. After giving birth, I understood that I had to be good to myself and that starts with being good to my body. Taking care, moving the right way, resting, being gentle. The body is the instrument with which we are able to master this life; it enables us to sing our own melody. I discovered that the challenging, sportive side of yoga combined with the mental, calming side of it makes yoga the perfect way to bring me back to myself. Which might sound a little egocentric, but when I am centred I am able to see others and be a good mother, singer, helper and so on.
Marlies: When you perform, you are larger than life: such a big, unusual voice, so much expression! Is that something you had to grow into? In other words: did you ever have to overcome a fear to really shine?
Nadja: That question contains so much truth. Yes, I was very much afraid to shine. When I was very young I was jumping fearless and reckless onto the stage. Being in the spotlight you gain envy and nastiness as well as raving publics. Unfortunately, we humans are built to care much more about the dissonances. I became shy and started to dim my voice and my inner power. I became very unhappy. Then I read something that opened my eyes: ‘Don’t let people that don’t matter too much, matter too much…’. And step by step, I came back to my truthful, strong expression.
Marlies: My motto is: dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be. With the way you approach your roles, you strike me as someone which refuses to stop learning and growing. Is that true?
‘’ Don’t let people that don’t matter too much, matter too much.’’
Nadja: Completely. For me life is all about constant development and learning. Sometimes things turn out completely different from what we expected. But that only stimulates flexibility and keeps us alive.
Marlies: Do you consider yourself a feminine feminist?
Nadja: I am absolutely convinced that the female principal will provide the solution for our poor, wrecked world. Patriarchy only brought us wars, power games, disrespect and the hesitation to feel love. Even religions have been turned into something terrible. I am a feminist and I love fashion, sensuality and beauty. So yes, call me a feminine feminist!
Marlies: Even when you’re not working, you are expressing yourself: writing stories and movie scripts. I totally recognise that! What drives you?
Nadja: This is simply what my ‘me’ is about and I respect that. I do what I am able to do. I would love to design or be a doctor – but that’s just not the right position for me in this life. Absorbing life and transforming it into stories to create emotions, that’s my duty. I am a storyteller on and off the stage. And an observer for that reason.
Marlies: What is the best advice you can give my readers when it comes to expressing yourself?
Nadja: Before thinking too much about ‘expressing yourself’, be kind to yourself. You could be a cleaning lady, a nurse, a secretary or a doctor. Each part is right and has its dignity. Accept your position with love; then your expression becomes truthful and beautiful because it’s honest and right! Never stop dreaming, never stop going. But if your desire is to be quiet, then simply enjoy quietness.
Marlies: What is your life motto?
Nadja: Dream big and bright. There is no failure – only learning. So when you fall, never forget to look beautiful while doing it and then stand up and try again and again – and again a little different. And spread as much love as possible! Learning is the most beautiful thing!
She grew up in a town with 3 traffic lights; now Lisa Benson represents some of the top names in the industry like Chanel Iman, Chrissy Teigen and Kelly Rohrbach. I met up with the IMG model manager to talk about the art of persistence and the importance of dreaming big. “I always trust my instinct.”
Marlies: My motto is ‘dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be’. Lisa, you are an amazing example of a woman who did just that.
Lisa: Thank you! Yes, I grew up the smallest town ever in Pennsylvania: Punxsutawney, from the movie Groundhog Day.
Marlies: We’re both small town girls!
Lisa: Can you imagine, there were only 3 stop lights! But at 5 years old, I started dreaming of a different life. And then I discovered Vogue. I would devour the fabulous photo shoots and glamorous stories. My prom dress was a knockoff of a dress supermodel Shalom Harlow wore on one of the covers. Fast forward to IMG, when I actually worked with Shalom! If I could have known then…
Marlies: How did you nurture your dream of a different life?
Lisa: I was really good with numbers, so I went to Penn State to study financial business. But what I really wanted was an internship at a big fashion company. So one day I just called the Saks catalogue and said: “I shop a lot at Saks, do you guys have internships?” To which they replied: “Ehm, we sell catalogues.”
Marlies: I love this story! Hey, you have to start somewhere!
Lisa: I was very persistent, and eventually they got me someone on the phone about an internship! So there I was at Saks, doing buying and management for the summer. It wasn’t glamorous, but I didn’t care: I was in New York! Then, September 11th happened. The job market collapsed, especially in finance; I couldn’t even get a hostess job.
Marlies: It’s when you hit rock bottom that you really get to know yourself, isn’t it?
Lisa: Yes, at that point I was ready to accept advice from my father. My family was really into sports; I played golf for Penn State and my father was a big golfer, too. Arnold Palmer, the legendary golfer who started IMG, was a family friend, and he suggested that I apply for a job at IMG because they had just started a fashion division: IMG Models. I sent in my resume, got invited for an informational interview and met president of IMG Models Ivan Bart who represented supermodels like Stephanie Seymour and Milla Jovovich. Wow, suddenly, everything made sense. A combination of multitasking, finance, glamour, sports; I found my dream job!
Marlies: This was your moment!
Lisa: Yes, except there was no job opening. And so I just started calling Ivan every single day. Literally!
Finally, they offered me a job as a receptionist and I thought: “Watch out, I will be the best receptionist you’ve ever seen!”
Marlies: Isn’t it great when you activate that killer instinct?
Lisa: Absolutely! As soon as Ivan’s assistant left, I took her job.
Marlies: And now you are an extremely successful model manager yourself! What makes you so good at what you do?
Lisa: I always trust my instinct. For example, when Chrissy Teigen walked in -this was when she just started dating John Legend- I thought she was so witty and amazing!
Marlies: Your persistence is incredibly inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story! Do you have any final advice for my readers?
Lisa: Wake up every day and be happy about what you are doing with your life. Be grateful for every moment given to you, work hard and enjoy the journey. And if you’re not happy, change it! Dare to dream big, always. Hey, if I did it…
Karen Erickson is unique, with a mind as bright and sparkly as the fabulous, hand-crafted jewelry she designs for celebrity-fans like Madonna, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé. I met the ‘Duchess of Fabulous’ in New York, where she dazzled me with her stories and enlightening insights. “One day, instead of falling in love with each other’s genetalia, we will fall in love with each other’s souls.”.
Marlies: You started Erickson Beamon over 30 years ago, and since then you have dressed both the former First Lady and Lady Gaga. How would you describe the Erickson Beamon look?
Karen: Intricate, beautiful, handmade, luxurious, artistic. It’s unique but it’s in the moment because I always keep moving. I don’t plan anything; inspiration knocks on my brain and demands to be born.
Marlies: What I love about your pieces is that they enhance women’s beauty. They really let us shine.
Karen: Thank you! That’s the whole concept: to help women be full of confidence. Express yourself, be yourself!
Marlies: What was your dream, and how did you pursue it?
Karen: I actually never had a specific dream, I sort of fell into everything! It’s a weird and wonderful story, really. When I was in high school I had a friend who smuggled hash in snakeskins. Afterwards, he would give me beautiful long pieces of python skins, stacks of them. I decided to make boots out of them. A friend of mine was friends with this guy named Iggy Pop….who happened to be friends with a guy named David Bowie. They needed some shoes, and that’s how I started dressing celebrities when I was a teenager.
Marlies: Wow, great story!
Karen: So did I plan anything? No. But I could draw and connect the dots.
Marlies: So what would be your advice to women dreaming of starting their own business?
Karen: Try to see the opportunities around you and grab them!
Marlies: I love the fact that you work so closely with the next generation: your 2 daughters Mandie and Monique.
Karen: How lucky am I!
Marlies: How have you managed to combine business and family throughout the years?
Karen: I’ve never had the luxury of someone else’s money, and I had to raise my family in a very expensive city. So I always brought my kids to work after school; they even had their own desk in the office. And so we worked together on everything: their homework, my jewelry, finding new designers. One thing led to another…
Marlies: Wonderful! Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Karen: I think all those concepts and labels are old fashioned. We need to be humanists, we need to evolve. So that one day, instead of falling in love with each other’s genitalia, we will fall in love with each other’s souls, which goes beyond sex and sexual identity. Feminism is a result of a male patriarchy and we’ve had to stand up against that. But we’re not just part of our little world, we have to think globally: are things good for women in India and China? How about Iraq? No, not yet.
Marlies: What can we do to solve that?
Karen: Try and rule our lives with love. Don’t only think of yourself. Keep spreading the word. It’s a matter of collective consciousness.
Marlies: What is your message for the next generation of women?
Karen: My goddaughter is in 10th grade and she is very much involved in feminism. When she had to write a paper I suggested that instead of calling it HIStory she should call it HERstory; tell her story from her point of view. That’s my message for her generation.
Marlies: Yes! ‘His story’ has been told long enough. It’s time to tell our own stories. Beautiful, Karen! Thank you so much.
What is it like to have a mother who is more than a mother? I asked my own daughter Zilver (20) and realized: it takes more than a daughter.
Marlies: Zilver, what is it like to have me as your mother?
Zilver: (laughing) Oh boy, where do I start?
Marlies: Well first of all, how would you describe me?
Zilver: You know what you want. You are sweet yet supremely confident. But most importantly: you feel like home. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be your daughter, even though you were never a ‘typical’ mother.
Marlies: In what way was I not ‘typical’?
Zilver: You always had so many other things going on: your career, your passions. Then again, I had NO idea that you were as successful as you were! When I see videos now of all your interviews and big shows from that period, I think: ‘Oh my god, you did all that on the side?’
Marlies: I think that’s a good thing; I didn’t want to burden you with the pressures of my job. To give you an example: whenever we opened a new store, I would reserve one dressing room and fill it up with your toys and books. This way, you could come along and still have your own identity. Oh, I’m having a flash-back now! Do you remember my fashion show in Paris?
Zilver: Yes, that time I bum-rushed the stage! I must have been 4 or 5 and was so fed up with having to share you with all these people. You took your bow after the show -looking like some gorgeous exotic bird- and I just charged at you from the audience. I pushed you over and sat on top of you and yelled: ‘This is my mama! MY mama!’.
Marlies: I rushed through the interviews afterwards because I knew you really needed me then. Perhaps not the most professional move, but when we were dancing together at the after party, I felt like the whole world could go to hell. It was just you and me.
‘’I realize that by showing me how to be your mother, you enabled me to be more than a mother.’’
-Marlies to Zilver
Zilver: You weren’t annoyed at all?
Mrlies: No! I felt blessed to have a daughter who could so clearly indicate her boundaries. You never abused your power and I always respected your needs. We had a mutual understanding. Neelie Smit Kroes (a very successful Dutch politician and businesswoman, red.) once described to me how she walked out of one of the most important debates of her life because her son called. “I knew he would only call if he really needed me. So I didn’t hesitate.” Well, neither did I.
Zilver: You always took me seriously, it’s true. Even when I was 8 and I asked you to wear ‘mom jeans’ so you would look more like a ‘normal’ mom…
Marlies: I am so glad I only had to wear those horrid jeans for 4 days!
Zilver: I missed you! You didn’t look like you anymore! But you were willing to change for me, and that meant the world to me. Like that time that I asked you to do more ‘mama-things’, starting with a shower together followed by a tuck-in every Wednesday evening. I also wanted you to cook more; I was sick of going out for dinner.
Marlies: You were about 10 years old, and I remember literally clearing my agenda for those showers. I also worked extra late – often till 11 pm – on the nights you spent with your father, so that when you stayed with me, I could be home early.
Zilver: Those are some of my fondest memories.
Marlies: I feel the same way! You know, I initially did those things for you. But looking back, those were perhaps the happiest moments of my life. I realize that by showing me how to be your mother, you enabled me to be more than a mother. I can’t thank you enough, Zilver.
Zilver: (winks): Well for starters, you could lend me your Chanel jacket.
Marlies: (laughing): Never!
Loved by the food, fitness and fashion industries alike, sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have taken the health and wellness industry by storm since launching their family-run wellness business in 2010 for people who want to live healthier, happier lives.
Frida Kahlo used to say: “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.” I asked Emma Gale (44), a delightful Australian painter with a passion for color and a fascination with Frida Kahlo to give me some tips and tricks: how to get those creative juices flowing?
Ruthie Davis is just like the amazing shoes she designs: daring, empowering and totally fabulous. After making Reebok hip again and completely revamping Uggs, she launched her own brand 10 years ago and quickly became the go-to designer for feminine feminists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.
It has become THE way to express yourself: social media. But how to best broadcast your message and maximize its potential? I asked the woman who foresaw the social media revolution and turned beauty- and fashion stylists into the new superstars: Brooke Wall.
What was Frida really like? To find out, I had an exclusive interview with the woman who was there when Frida’s bathroom filled with personal treasures was opened after more than 50 years: Hilda Trujillo, director of the Casa Azul in Mexico City.
“Opening the archives allowed us to discover the most important thing: the human being behind the famous artist.”
When it comes to feminine feminism, TV -with its new generation kick-ass leading ladies expressing my motto ‘Dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be’- is definitely where it’s at! So when I got invited to play a part in TV’s biggest night of the year, I grabbed my party heels and jetted off to Los Angeles.
When I met Jennifer Finnigan in Los Angeles at our Emmy’s gift lounge, there was an immediate spark and connection. The Canadian actress, who is currently starring in the controversial TV drama Tyrant, turned out to be a lingerie-loving, feminine feminist with a noble mission: to revolutionize the TV world, one show at a time. But when she found out I was Dutch, she insisted on first telling me about her adventure in our own Red Light District.
Not only do I admire Swedish super stylist B. Akerlund (41) for creating some of the world’s most iconic looks – Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ video, Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show, Beyoncé swinging a bat in ‘that’ yellow dress – I also recognize in her a fellow Feminine Feminist. “My job? To make women strong, sexy and unstoppable.”
As far as I am concerned, there is only one heiress to Edith Head’s throne, and that is the magnificent Arianne Phillips (53), twice Oscar-nominated costume designer and Madonna’s favorite style-collaborator. Like Edith, she is a tastemaker and visionary in both film and fashion. And just like her legendary predecessor, she is a feminist icon in her own right. I had the rare chance to interview Arianne and ask her about Madonna, feminism in Hollywood and why she thinks lingerie is ‘everything’. “We definitely do NOT like to hide it!”
Did you know that it takes about 10 minutes for the average marlies|dekkers customer to decide on a lingerie set, but well over an hour to choose a bathing suit or bikini? With these tips from my own swimwear experts you’ll shop like a pro.
‘Why do you still date men if we’re all such unreliable cheating bastards?’ It’s nine a.m., I’m barely awake, staring with a hot coffee at the screen of my laptop, when the poisonous questions from a certain ‘J.’ shoot right at me. ‘Give it up, feminist pussy, why don’t you become a lesbian?’
Question: what do a lingerie designer, a singing DJ and a geisha have in common? Let Johnny Kelvin show you…
Geisha are surrounded by mystery. Even in Japan where this tradition was born. The parents of the young girls who choose this path, are often taken aback and shocked by their daughter’s choice.
Word is out! Musical superstar, Adele, is a marlies|dekkers fan and our dame de paris style is her favourite sexy bra!
Last Friday, we presented our new lingerie collection at the one-off marlies|dekkers clubnight in Rotterdam. The theme of the collection is Awaken Your Senses.
We love sharing our latest products and news with you and the best way for you to keep up with Marlies and the brand is to follow us on Social Media!
Nicole Scherzinger may currently be involved in a high profile love triangle with Lewis Hamilton and our other good friend, Rihanna but today we’re throwing it back to a 2006 music video she shot with the Pussycat Dolls…
This week we are taking you back to 2012 when Taylor Swift was filming her music video for the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” from her fourth album “Red”.
“You know they say ‘who is Nicki Minaj’ and you know I’m like a multiple personality bitch…”
Jessie J shows us how to style the marlies|dekkers best-seller, the Dame de Paris for a fun Friday night out!
For over 20 years, celebrities are wearing my lingerie. It’s a combination between a good working PR machine, and designs which are truly new to the famous ladies.
When I came up with the idea of designing a lingerie couture collection, I thought of adventurous women, dreamers and modern thinkers who would wear the collection. I launched the couture line in the past winter collection and now the second collection is available since a few days.
You’ve probably seen Charlotte Olympia’s super sexy killer heels; on stars like Dita von Teese and Beyoncé, and all over the red carpet. Like Christian Louboutin, her motto is: ‘The higher the heels, the better it feels’
I really wanted to share the pictures of this powerlady with you. Sisse Marie seems to love wearing my designs and we all love to see her wearing it!
One of America’s ultimate top models, Tyra Banks, spotted in my designs, but this lady has a remarkable story
I recently met Anastacia and although we didn’t had much time, there were a few subjects I really wanted to talk about with her.
It looks like American actress and fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker loves marlies|dekkers. We spotted her wearing the Dutch lingerie brand for the third time!
Russian actrice and model Rita Volk is wearing our Dame de Paris collection in the romantic comedy hit serie Faking It on MTV!