M | M
AGE 22

22-year-old model, Martenni  Marie, aka Blasian Henny is making a platform for herself. Using all of her resources, and cultivating opportunity every chance she gets. I had the pleasure of conducting a successful phone interview with the jaw-dropping Kimora Lee Simmons lookalike herself. I learned that she was hitting the runway, coaching younger models, creating amazing poetry pieces, composing music, and double majoring in Marketing Management + Business Management.  Wow, she's literally the whole package and then some. Marie is the epitome of a girl boss in every way and is the perfect example of how you can create the life you desire by being yourself and staying dedicated.  

I’m focused on reaching my goals, my personal growth, finding inner peace & surrounding myself with the right people.
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What inspired you to get into modeling?


It was actually a weird story... I was walking to my dorm from auditioning for the fashion & merch dept. show that's usually thrown every fall and spring show for student designers. Most of my freshman friends were like, 'You should audition! You're skinny, you look like Kimora, just go and do it,' so I did and I liked it.  I was nervous at first but then I'm like this is cool, I'm meeting people in college, I'm networking, and I'm still doing good in school too. But as I was walking to my dorm, some guy came out of the school's barbershop and was like 'Hey! Can you get into this shoot real quick?', and I'm like 'Yeah!', I put some jeans on and came down. I ended up meeting one of the models of I WEAR GLAM, a big weave company in Detroit, who's been in the business for a while. So I'm meeting all these models and I'm getting into shows after that and just thought 'Why not take it seriously?'


Would you say it's something that came to you naturally or was it tough in the beginning?


It was sort of something that came naturally but when talk about doing runways and getting over fears of falling, and not looking right in pictures, that takes a lot of practice. I would say that I'm not fully there like a model who signed for a big agency in New York. I'm still building my brand and still learning but I'm still here to help upcoming models like the ones I'll be coaching this Sunday.


What's the name of the show?


The Grid Fashion Show


Who would you say are some of your inspirations and influences?


Hmm.. I definitely want to say my friends and family around me first. Those are definitely key aspects to what influences you as a person. I do want to say that learning the piano and going to an art school for four years (DSA), singing in choir, brushing up on my music skills, basically studying art gave me my focus on modeling. That gave me my drive to take it more seriously.  Not want to sound cheesy or mainstream but I will say Jhene Aiko.  She's a really good influence.  



What are some things that you do outside of modeling?


I'm a student first. Double major in Marketing and Business Management at Wayne State. It's crazy trying to find linkage to modeling, music, and business. I was out of the country in August with my dad's family in Ghana and on my ride back I sat next to a Grand Valley State Business Professor who also happened to be Ghanaian.  It's funny because I usually don't talk to people on planes but he started the conversation, he asked me what I was doing in school, and what I do. And he said, 'The fashion and models have businesses too. They need people to be their marketing manager or accounting managers and things like that.  Why won't you do something like that? You could still focus in modeling. Or come up with a business or work for one of the big agencies as a marketing manager for those models. There is endless possibilities of what you can do.'  And that really gave me my drive because that's exactly where I'm trying to go. I do plan on going to grad school. For sure.  My first choice is NYU - Stern School of Business, who just added a fashion and business luxury marketing MBA. Sounds like it's right up my alley.  There are other options but that's my number one focus now.  


What would you say are some of the proudest achievements of your modeling career, if not one specific one?


One would just be hearing from people that see my work like people would call and say "I see you on these flyers or I see you in these hair magazines." Those are some achievements for me. I model for two hair companies now, and I'm also a model for a fashion boutique here in the city.  


What are some of your personal goals?


Well now, since I got all of my adolescent experiences out in college, it's time to get serious and be an adult, you know, I'm about to graduate so it's time to be more focused on myself. I know I'm young but I'm not that young. One of my personal goals would be getting more into playing the piano. I feel like my years in college took me away from my musical talents and I don't want to take away from or lose those. I was in lessons my whole life and that stopped since I'm in college now so I gotta brush up on my skills again.


What are some of your goals pertaining to modeling?


Right now we are in a weird time with modeling. Back then, they weren't so into "body goals". Now you see models full of tattoos, and models like Ashley Graham, a very popular plus-sized model. Modeling is more diverse now as opposed to how it was back then. I feel like as a model, I have to take the opportunity to meet and network with more people. I've been to New York to meet with the people behind The Grid Fashion Show, but I didn't have to chance to go into any agencies or any fashion shows.  So when I move out there, I'm gonna be known in the city. I'm just trying to make sure I get all that I can here in Detroit and start living my dreams.


What do you enjoy the most about being a model?


I like it because it's inspiring. I have one model whose like 17 or 18 in high school who reached out and wanted a mentor. I know when I was her age, I was the same way. Most of the girls that around my age when I started weren't really helpful and willing to give advice to people who are starting out. That's something that's weird in the elite model world, even though it is a competition, I've never heard of models trying to inspire other people except for the ones that stand out like Ashley Graham or Tyra.