September, 2013 – The Standard Hotel
What was your first New York job?
I was 19 years old and just finished my second year at RISD. I was a painting major and decided to spend the summer in NYC with my boyfriend at the time, who just graduated and started working at MTV. It was the mid-90s and such an incredibly exciting time to be in NYC. I had worked in restaurants since I was kid, and it was hard work, but a decent way to make the money I needed for school and art supplies. Stretchers, canvas, paper and paints go pretty fast.
I can remember going to SoHo, which was newly evolving and the place to be, and I interviewed at Indochine, Kelley and Ping and Lucky Strike. I will never forget the interview with one of the managers (an actor/comedian friends with Laurence Fishburne) at Lucky Strike and how “green” I felt. I grew up in Baltimore and considered myself a city girl, but people knew right away and would say “you’re not from here, are you?”
In the NYC flurry and all that was shiny and new, I began waitressing that summer and the next as well as weekends during the school year until I graduated college. I somehow felt at “home” at Lucky Strike. The staff was genuine and working for Keith McNally was an inspiration. It was one of the best and most memorable NYC times for me. There, I experienced an iconic slice of history with staples like Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Mary Ellen Mark, Ralph Gibson, John Lurie, Laurence FIshburne and William Dafoe (table 24) and the every-now-and-again drop by’s from Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell.
I would listen to John Lurie spin tales about his days with Basquiat and Warhol, spend my days drawing and painting and at night, waitressing at what felt like “the party” to be at. If I wasn’t working, I was exploring NYC…never to be forgotten late nights at the Tunnel, Florent and CBGB.
Tell me about some of your most recent and also favorite travels.
My most recent trip was to Calabria in Southern Italy. It was an adventurous and nerve wracking all-day train ride from Rome, but completely worth it. Calabria is an underdeveloped region and primarily locals. I was visiting artist friends from RISD. Their father and uncle bought property in the 60s and built several homes atop a cliff along the cape. We would walk down a steep cliff to a secluded beach and spend our days there until the sun set. It was simple living and peaceful.
Some of my favorite travels include seeing people in their local everyday life as well as discovering something unspoiled: An annual visit to friends living in Tuscany who relocated from NYC to open two boutique hotels called La Bandita; visiting the homes of local artisans weave rugs and carve wood in Oaxaca, Mexico and hiking over 10,000 feet to see Buddhist monks pray in the frigid mountains of Bhutan.
What would you tell your 20 something self if you could?
The most important thing I would tell myself is to love myself. As basic and obvious as that sounds, it was difficult for me to do. I had a challenging childhood and in turn, became very rebellious. Yet in the end, I realized it was myself that I was rebelling against and hurting. I would say to be kind and forgiving of myself, to do my best in trusting my good mind and have faith in myself.
As clichéd as it is, if I only knew what I know now…But with that said, I am happier than ever. Life happens, and you do your best to navigate through it with sincerity and integrity.
Marissa Maximo a gorgeous woman and she is an interesting woman. Part of her job is to learn about new artists, designers and creators to meld what is trend with what is conceptual and current art and work – or at least that’s how I interpret it! Marissa is the Director of Brand Relations and Special Projects at Urban Outfitters.
We began corresponding over email and very quickly her life was intriguing to me, particularly her love for travel. She reminded me – we must travel more. A certain freedom exists to individual found only by way of travel.
Marissa came to New York with an idea and an openness. You can probably relate to her story of firsts. Now she is leader in the world of business and a curator to the emergence of new and ready talent.
MARISSA MAXIMO 1995 “Innocence Dissolves”