Maggie Rizer

Maggie Rizer
Maggie Rizer
Born January 9, 1978 (1978-01-09) (age 33)
Staten Island, New York[2]
Height 5'9"
Hair color Blonde, dyed red
Eye color Blue
Dress size 4

Maggie Rizer (born Margaret Mary Rizer on January 9, 1978 in Staten Island, New York) is an American model, actress, and AIDS activist. She is also ambassador for Operation Smile.


Personal life

Maggie was born to Maureen and Kevin Rizer. Her parents divorced before she was a year old when her father announced he was gay. Ten years later her mother married John Breen. Her extended family includes siblings Julia, Patricia, Katie, and Jake. The family, who lives in upstate New York, appeared in a 2001 Teen Vogue layout. Rizer married businessman Alex Mehran on September 18, 2010 in Lake Placid, New York.[1]

Modeling career

Rizer's high school graduation portrait was hung in Burns Photography studio and in the local mall. Neighbors saw the large photo and encouraged Maggie's mother Maureen to send the photo to the Ford Modeling Agency in New York City. Rizer's pale skin, covered in freckles, and her bright blue eyes caught the modeling world's attention. Rizer initially turned down modeling offers to continue her studies at the State University of New York at Geneseo and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Rizer's hair is naturally strawberry blonde. She dyed her hair carrot-red and attracted the attention of Italian Vogue and photographer Steven Meisel. They booked her for her first cover and 20-page couture layout in September 1997. She was also featured on the April 1999 cover of American Vogue with Kate Moss. Her second American Vogue cover was in November 2000 with models Carmen Kass, Angela Lindvall, and Frankie Rader. That year she was up for the 2000 VH1/Vogue "Model of the Year" award. Carmen Kass was the eventual winner. Rizer has appeared in many fashion spreads and on the covers of dozens of fashion magazines including Elle', Lucky, Vogue, and Flare.

Rizer was at the peak of her modeling career in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Neal Hamil, her agent at Ford, said

She was a canvas you could manipulate and mold into whatever mood or look you were doing, which made her, obviously, a very popular model. That, and the fact that she was so eager to please. [3]

She starred in campaigns for Gap, Clinique, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Versace, Viktor & Rolf, Celine, Romeo Gigli, and Max Mara.

Her favorite designers were Miuccia Prada, Gucci, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. Her favorite photographers are Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, Inez van Lamsweerde, and Chadwick Tyler.

Rizer has also done some limited film and television work. She briefly appeared in a television episode ("Let There Be Light") of Sex and the City during Season Six. She is the model who begs Smith to party with her and her friends at Richard Wright's hotel. Rizer also appears in a deleted scene from the 2001 Ben Stiller movie Zoolander. She appears with a group of models traveling in a limousine who stop and ask Stiller's character Derek Zoolander to "come and join our sex party!"

Loss of modeling fortune

Maggie earned around $20,000 per fashion show and her day-rate started at $30,000. She amassed a fortune of $7 million in only five years.[2]

At 20, Rizer and her mother hired a New York City financial manager to handle her money in exchange for five percent of her earnings. Weeks later, her stepfather John Breen, who was in the insurance industry, told her that this was a waste of money and that he wanted to handle all of her finances.

Breen had a serious drinking problem, however. The family would assume he was at work as he worked for himself at a small local insurance agency. According to him, after he lost his savings, he turned to Rizer's money and sometimes lost over $60,000 of it per day. No one but John was aware of these loses.

Maggie's mother eventually forced her husband into alcohol rehab and while he was gone, she receipts, documents, and forged checks in his trashcan at his office. She slowly unraveled the details of his addiction and discovered that Breen had gambled away all of Maggie's modeling income and the money Maggie had inherited upon the death of her biological father, Kevin, from AIDS in 1992.

In 2004, her stepfather was convicted of grand larceny and conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to sixteen to forty-eight months in prison. The family was left with no money. Rizer also gained weight after discovering her fortune was gone. Ford, and then her new modeling agency, IMG, encouraged Rizer to seek therapy. Rizer mostly dropped out of modeling for the next five years.

As a result of the thefts, Maureen had to briefly go on welfare and food stamps to support her large family.[3]

A long article, detailing Rizer's rise-and-fall, was in New York Magazine and online in April and May 2005.

AIDS activism

Rizer was fourteen when her openly gay father Kevin Rizer died of AIDS, and she has since become involved in AIDS awareness. As an adult, she spoke with Scott, her father's partner of ten years about how many friends her father had lost to the disease.

Modeling comeback

People Magazine, in its December 15, 2008 issue, ran a story about Rizer's attempts at a modeling comeback. In the Fall of 2009, Rizer began appearing in advertisements for Dooney and Bourke. In the spring of 2010, she has been featured prominently on the website for the L.L.Bean SIGNATURE line and in the print catalog.

External links


  1. ^ "Stepdaddy’s Little Girl", by Kate Pickert New York Magazine April 11, 2005. [1]
  2. ^ Maggie Rizer, Broke Supermodel, How the Lotto Ruined Her Life," by Kate Pickert, New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.
  3. ^ "Maggie Rizer, Broke Supermodel, How the Lotto Ruined her Life," by Kate Pickert, New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.

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