Miranda Markham - the Rawtenstall model taking the catwalks by storm
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 May 2018
Miranda Markham’s modelling career may have started in the aisle of a supermarket but her fabulous looks have taken her from Rawtenstall to catwalks of Milan
She’s already walked runways at Milan Fashion Week, been featured in edgy fashion and culture magazine i:D and had her photograph appear online in Vogue Italia – and she’s still only 16. For Rawtenstall’s Miranda Markham, it’s all in a day’s work.
‘I should feel really under pressure, but I am really quite a calm person,’ said Miranda, who is currently studying for her A levels at Haslingden High School Sixth Form. She is also a dance and drama student and assistant at The Performance Academy in Accrington, which she has attended since she was three.
‘I think at the time when I started modelling, it put everything into perspective for me and most 14-year-olds doing their GCSEs don’t get that. It felt natural and comfortable to do it all at once.’
Miranda, who goes under the modelling name of Billie Jean, first developed an interest in life in front of the lens after buying a copy of Vogue. She laughs telling us that her career started because of a supermarket £3 meal deal – she has some change left over from lunch and decided to purchase the magazine.
‘I was looking through all of the magazines and was absolutely in awe at Vogue.
‘From then on I continually bought it and became obsessed with working in the fashion industry.’ It was only after a suggestion from her mum, Nicola, that Miranda decided to pursue a modelling career. ‘At first she was just mad on all things fashion, she wasn’t 100% sure on modelling,’ said Nicola, a teacher who also runs a drama class at The Performance Academy.
‘I just sent off a holiday photo of Miranda to Maverick Models in Manchester and we got asked to come in for an interview.’
She was then signed up to the agency and Billie Jean was born.
The decision to have a new name stems from the idea of reinventing herself after a period of child modelling, and it also separates her life on the runway to her personal one.
‘Maverick wanted to reinvent me and leave the old Miranda behind. At the time I think I had my hair in braids and was wearing a checked shirt, so I looked a bit like a cowgirl, and one of the girls suggested Billie,’ said Miranda, who said that to begin with it was a little odd having an alter-ego.
‘My middle name is Jean so it just stuck. I have red hair and it’s the name from a Michael Jackson song so you can’t forget me!’
For Miranda, her beautiful red hair is often the focus of editorial shoots. She isn’t allowed to drastically cut or change its style without prior permission from her agent.
Even when she models for hair shows, the hairdressers are told they can’t colour but only style her trademark locks.
However, at one point during her early school years, her hair wasn’t get her noticed for the right reasons.
‘I told her when she was leaving primary school that she had to go one way or the other about her height and hair,’ said Nicola.
‘You’re tall with red hair, you’re either going to embrace and enjoy it or be prepared for some potentially harmful comments.’
Miranda gained the confidence she needed to rock her individual style, and now even wears six-inch heels to school – fully embracing her height.
Her friends and teachers at school are very supportive of her blossoming career, and she says that even the boys now know what Vogue magazine is.
The high point for her was having the chance to strut her stuff down the runway at Milan Fashion Week 2018.
‘Milan was an amazing experience, as soon as it was over I wanted to do it all again,’ said Miranda, who got the opportunity to model for designer Chanel Joan Elkayam after being approached by her on Instagram.
‘She liked my look and commented asking if I would like to apply to model at her show. At the casting nearly everyone else was over 6ft and brunette, so I was shocked when I was selected.’
She travelled to the Italian city with her mum and best friend Sophie, enjoying a quick chance to tour the glamorous area before sitting in the makeup chair at 8am, ready for the show at 3.30pm.
‘It was more chaotic that I imagined! I was sat there in the chair having my makeup, hair, nails and toe nails done all at the same time – there was a never a moment anyone was sat still,’ said Miranda. ‘It was such an incredible experience and one I didn’t think I would be doing aged 16.’
Looking to the future, there is one clear goal that Miranda has her sights set on – becoming a Victoria’s Secret model. Along with DVDs of the brand’s famous fashion shows – where the models, also known as Angels, wear extravagant wings – she knows all the facts and figures about the supermodels that take part.
‘That would be my dream! I also really would like to live in New York but that depends how much money I have,’ laughed Miranda. ‘I am still only young so I can see how it goes, but my agent says it’s the perfect age to launch a career.’
World, watch out. Miranda’s coming.