Mara Martin: Mom Influencer We Love!
Posted on April 30 2019
We are so excited to welcome Mara Martin to our Moms We Love Blog Series! This beautiful mama and model has become an inspiration to us all after her infamous walk down the Sports Illustrated runway, breastfeeding baby Aria. Read more about the iconic moment and this fierce mama below!
Tell us about yourself:
I’m originally from a Monroe, a small town in Michigan, where I was born and raised. I played college volleyball at the University of Michigan, then University of Georgia, where I graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology. Upon graduation, I was scouted by a modeling agent and decided to move to Los Angeles. After which, I moved to New York and currently reside in Miami. After years of modeling and traveling, I found the love of my life, Ryan. I decided to give modeling a break and move to Canada. That's where we started a family, and had my beautiful little girl, Aria.
How do you balance work and motherhood?
Balancing work and motherhood has its challenges. There is a lot of planning and scheduling to make everything run smoothly. My career is unique because there are days where I’m busy and days where I’m mostly at home. I have the best of both worlds as a stay at home mother who also works. Regardless, whether you decide to be a stay at home mom, go back to work quickly, or spend a longer time at home before returning to work, if you are doing what you think is best for your child, yourself, and your family, then that’s all that matters. Sometimes it’s hard for me to have work obligations and feel like I’m leaving Aria behind. I try to remind myself that everything I do is for Aria. She is my first priority. I am setting an incredible example for her in every way (working or staying at home) while also doing what’s best for my family.
Do you have a mama tribe?
I have a great mama tribe and I think it is so important. I have friends from college and home that I speak with regularly. Social media is also an amazing tool. I have an amazing mama tribe from social media that I am grateful for. I think it’s important as mothers to share what we are going through and bind together to support and help each other out!
As a model and mom how does body image play a role?
Body image for me has been something I have always struggled with. Being in the modeling industry really got in my head at a younger age - always comparing and wanting to fit this “ideal” body type I thought was considered beautiful. As soon as I became a mother, I gained confidence I never had before. After seeing what my body had gone through from carrying a baby, then delivering, and now nourishing my daughter, I can honestly say that I have never felt more beautiful than I do now. I hope that other mothers understand how amazing their body is, and find that inner confidence. Motherhood has made me appreciate all my body can do.
What is the most important lesson you want to teach your child?
There are many lessons I want to teach Aria. They include:
1. Never stop chasing your dreams: If you have something you want to do in life, keep going until you get it.
2. Love yourself as you are: Never compare to others. We all have different paths and shining moments. Celebrate your journey.
3. Be kind: I believe in teaching our kids at a young age to love one another, be empathetic, and compassionate.
Tell us about the historic and AWESOME moment on the runway. How did it happen?
When we had Aria, we decided to move back to Florida so I could go back to work. Five months later, my dream company, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, announced they were holding an open casting call in Miami. It seemed like fate, I knew I had to attend. Since we were new to the area I didn’t have a babysitter, and I took Aria with me to the casting. There were thousands of girls in line, but because Aria was exclusively breastfed, I nursed her throughout the whole experience. From thousands, to 67, to 16, I was chosen to walk in the runway show. The day of the runway show the SI team asked if I wanted to walk one of my looks with Aria. We got dressed together and I took her back stage in our matching bikinis, waiting to walk. The runway show was delayed and Aria began to get hungry backstage. I began to breastfeed her. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, because it was something I did every day, multiple times a day, and also through the casting experience. The editor, MJ Day, saw me and said I could walk out if my turn came and that I didn’t have to stop. As the show began, she wasn’t finished so I decided to go for it. During it, I felt more calm with her walking the runway. It was an incredibly special moment that I got to share with my daughter. The next day we woke up to international headlines around the world, as the face of normalizing breastfeeding. To me it was even more. It was a chance to show women that you can be confident in your body after having a baby. It was a chance to show women to never stop chasing your dreams no matter what the circumstance. It was a chance to show women that feeding your baby is beautiful and we should be able to feed our babies how we want, when we want, and where we want.
What is your mom style?
My day to day style is the “typical” mom look. Sweat pants and t-shirts. When I go out, I am pretty sporty and like convenience. Since I’m still breastfeeding, button down tops and dresses are key for me as well as comfortable. It’s always nice to find boutiques like yours that have options for mothers that are comfortable but also beautiful so you can feel good in what you’re wearing!
Learn more about Mara: On Instagram @_maramartin_