From the USSR to NY Runways: An Armenian Model’s Story

Statistics floating around out there claim that most Americans change jobs an average of 13 times during their lifetime. Marianna Postma, a model in New York City, hasn’t quite reached 13 careers, but she’s getting close, proving herself to be quite a multifaceted Armenian woman.

Marianna Postma

Born in Szombathely, Hungary, Postma was born to Armenian and Russian parents. She didn’t stay in Hungary for long. “I lived in many places while I was growing up, a fortunate thing for me. I got to see the world, places like Baku, Kazakhstan, Kiev, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Samara City on the Volga River,” she explains. Beginning her eclectic collection of interests, Postma was educated at the International University of Moscow and majored in business management. While she celebrated success working on a national tourism project in Russia, Postma also enrolled in school to become a hair stylist. This seemingly unrelated ambition is part of her chameleon-like persona, easily moving from field to field with ease.

What sparked her interest in modeling was the influence of her mother, who worked as a manager in department stores like Sears and Macy’s. “My mother tells me that I started thinking about the possibility of modeling when I was 17. Since then it is something I’ve always dreamed of doing,” she says.

Before she began to pursue that goal, she gave acting a try with the help of her sister. Postma appeared in five plays in local theatres while she was still in Russia. What really got the ball rolling on her modeling career was her move to New York City in 2006.

“I entered the famous MAAI modeling competition in the fashion district,” she recounts. “It was my love of beauty and fashion that led me to make modeling
a full-time career.” Of her varied experiences as a professional model, Postma has had the opportunity to work with such coveted brands as Lancôme, L’Oreal, and Redken, and even walks the semi-annual New York Fashion Week runway shows yearly. It’s clear she also enjoys the traveling her career requires, having recently taken trips to both Miami, Fla., and Denver, Colo.

Aside from the fun and thrill of her work, Postma takes her position seriously, and readily explains that her heritage affected her success. “The hardships and terrible losses the Armenian people have endured and suffered have made me a more determined woman,” she says. “I have been inspired by the Armenian people; their example has given me the drive to succeed, to do well, and to make a contribution to society. I want the people of Armenia to be proud of me.”

On a less serious note, Postma admits that her heritage has given her a useful gift in terms of modeling—that is, olive skin. “My rather dark skin coloring has been a distinct advantage for me in multi-cultural New York City,” she explains.

Currently Postma is playing around with some investments in the stock market. “I would never have believed it possible a few years ago!” she admits. Her love of travel is also an ever-present hobby; she hopes to add to the already extensive list of nations she has been to. With a love for opera and Broadway, Postma might also try her hand at acting again. For now, though, she is rather content with where her modeling career has brought her. “I guess modeling has just come rather naturally to me.”

Lori Cinar

Lori Cinar

Lori Cinar holds a B.A. in English from Rutgers University (2013) and is currently earning her master's degree in Speech Pathology from Columbia University. She remains active in the New Jersey Armenian community, and you may recognize her as the "Medz Mayrig" from the popular theatrical comedy "Pesad Oor Eh? Where Is Your Groom."

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