Photographed by Peter Lindbergh
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Her name is Arizona. She grew up in Santa Fe. Her surname, Muse, makes the sudden firestorm of attention around her all the more fitting.
But until four months ago, no one in the fashion world knew Arizona Muse. Then she opened and closed Prada’s spring show in Milan (a major coup for a model, especially an unknown), and before you could say grazie mille, she was all anyone was talking about. And with the way she looks, there’s a lot to discuss.
First, those eyebrows. Sharp, full, unbelievably long—like lightning bolts. “Everything was those eyebrows,” says Stéphane Marais, who did the makeup for this story and audibly breathed a sigh of relief when he met her and realized she wasn’t “another one who bleaches her brows”—as top models have been wont to do lately. And then that hair: It’s short when most everyone else is doing long, effortlessly tousled in a way that feels soft but also very new. “She has natural edge,” sums up Marais. “Her beauty is poetic.”
But it’s not just how she looks that has so many swooning. “The way she moves is very different from other runway models,” notes Peter Lindbergh, who photographed Muse here, in the Mojave Desert.
When one meets Arizona—say, at a café in SoHo at 8:00 in the morning one Monday, after she’s already given her nineteen-month-old, Nikko (pictured with her in this portfolio), his breakfast—it is the unpretentious poise and elegant maturity well beyond her 22 years that make the biggest impression. It’s exciting to imagine that this cerebral, modest young woman could be the game-changer who will—if all of the fashion oracles are correct—take the mantle as the new face of American fashion.
“Modeling wasn’t a dream I had, although it’s turning into my dream,” Muse says with an air of both gratitude and frank nonchalance.
Indeed, rather than dreaming of the catwalks of Paris and Milan, Muse (who was born in Tucson, hence her name) grew up camping in the Rockies with her family—her English mother, a therapist; her American father, an art dealer; her younger brother, now a pro snowboarder. She dabbled in modeling in high school, taking jobs here and there (commuting between Santa Fe and Los Angeles), but gave it up without much ceremony when she got pregnant at nineteen. She tested the waters again this past July, installing her brood—Nikko and his live-in nanny—in an apartment in Brooklyn, and started going on castings. As of October, she’d been booked for the Prada and Yves Saint Laurent campaigns. To say that her story is astonishing is an understatement.
“It feels like she’s been around for quite a while,” says Lindbergh. “You’re not looking at her and saying, ‘Wow, that’s the new girl.’ You say, ‘Why don’t I know her?’ ”
by Emily Holt