Johanna Selhorst "Josie" Maran (born
May 8, 1978) is an American model and actress.
Maran was born in Menlo Park, California. She attended Castilleja School,
an all-girls' school in Palo Alto, California. She is of Russian-Jewish
descent on her paternal side. Her first cover was Glamour in 1998. In
1990, an appendectomy left Maran with a noticeable scar that is typically
edited out of photos.
Maran's modeling career began at the age of 12; when an agent spotted her
at a local barbecue restaurant, she began modeling part time. Maran
graduated from the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, then began to pursue
modeling more seriously. As those in the fashion industry consider her
height of 5'6" to be too short for runway modeling, Maran works mainly in
editorial modeling and advertising/image modeling.
Signed at age 17 with the Elite modeling agency of Los Angeles, Maran
appeared on her first cover with Glamour magazine in 1998, and she was the
featured Guess? Girl in their summer 1998 and fall 1998 campaigns. After
building a résumé of over 25 commercials and advertisements, including
playing Howie D's companion in the music video of Backstreet Boys hit
Everybody (Backstreet's Back), in which she was bitten on the neck by
Count Dracula (played by Howie D), Maran moved cross-country to join with
Elite in New York City. In 1999, she landed a multi-year deal with
Maybelline. Maran appeared in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
for three consecutive years; from 2000 to 2002. Maran is also signed with
London agency Storm Model Management, and 1/One Management in New York
Maran's interest in the arts extends beyond film. When not in acting
class, she is training herself in "dance classes... violin classes, speech
classes, everything. I'm just trying to train myself in the arts, you
know? Nobody else is gonna do it so I'm going to. I'm gonna take on the
world". Her interest in music led her to play casually in two bands:
Darling, with socialite Nicole Richie, and Hollywood 2000, where she sang
and played violin.
In 2001, Maran appeared in an independent film, as title character Mallory
in The Mallory Effect. Maran followed this by appearing as Susan in
Swatters in 2002. In 2004, she appeared in three films - as a French model
in Little Black Book, as one of Dracula's brides, Marishka, in Van
Helsing, and briefly as a cigarette girl in The Aviator. Maran appeared in
a short film "The Confession" alongside Wentworth Miller in 2005, and as
Kira Hayden in The Gravedancers in 2006. Maran will not play Polly Hudson
in The Final Season, scheduled for release in 2007. This role is now
played by Rachael Leigh Cook.
She was recruited in 2005 by EA Games to appear as a main character in the
street-racing computer and video game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which
was released on November 17, 2005. She plays the game's second lead Mia
Townsend, who guides the lead character through the game.
In June 2007, Maran launched her own natural cosmetics product line, named
Josie Maran Cosmetics. Beyond her business activities she commits herself
to the protection and improvement of nature and the environment.
Maran competed in the 2007 season of Dancing with the Stars, but she and
dance partner Alec Mazo were the first couple eliminated. Maran
subsequently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and in reference to getting
voted off first, said, "I should have cut my legs off".
Maran was quoted as saying on Jimmy Kimmel Live, August 12, 2004: "I don't
believe in marriage. I just don't think it's necessary in this day and
age. I just think if you need to get married, then you're already
distrusting the person. Why do you have to sign something to show your
love? You just love, everyday." Maran talked about quitting modeling and
acting to live in Hawaii and teach children, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, October
24, 2005. She reported to have also started yoga at Kripalu, eating
organic foods, and trying to quit smoking.
Maran was at one time in a relationship with magician David Blaine. She is
currently with photographer Ali Alborzi and the couple have one daughter,
Rumi Joon, born on June 20, 2006, in the back yard of their Los Angeles
home, as planned.
"I'm usually a mellow,
go-with-the-flow person, except when someone tells me I should do
something. Then I get stubborn. If they don't back off, I get this
horrible rage and want to kill them. When I was four and my mom
would send me to my room, I'd get so mad I'd go outside and bang my
head on the sidewalk."
"When I was younger, I wanted to be a sex therapist - a hipper Dr.
Ruth. I've never had a boring conversation about sex. When you talk
about sex, people come alive. My friends told me, `You know, guys
are going to come to talk about their wives, but then they're going
to want to sleep with you.' I figured I'd just wear a bag over my
I'm really shallow when I come to guys. I only date really good
looking, well-endowed guys, with great bodies. My friends are always
going on at me. I'm like "I can't help it! I'm just a woman with