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Milan Fashion Week’s Biggest Model Wants to Change the Way We Think About Asperger’s
By Janelle Okwodu

Few people had a busier Milan Fashion Week than Nina Marker, the Danish top model who has been present for the week’s biggest events. Whether she was stomping down the runway with the supermodels at Versace, joining the crowd at Angela Missoni’s 20th anniversary collection, or walking for Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, Marker made her mark. Given her schedule, it would have been easy for Marker to focus solely on the job, but just before Max Mara, she used Instagram to deliver a hopeful message. Sporting a T-shirt that read “Bee Kind, I Have Autism,” Marker reminded her followers that those on the neurodevelopmental disorder’s spectrum are more than capable of achieving their dreams. “It’s possible for us to be successful and have a good time,” she wrote in the caption. “Stay safe and protect your mind.”

Marker is passionate about using the platform afforded her by modeling to tackle meaningful issues. Diagnosed with autism at the age of 15 after experiencing issues with her education and personal life, Marker hopes that speaking out will bring about changes that can prevent others from going through similar difficulties. “It’s important to me because the lack of [awareness] has created some issues in my life that maybe wouldn’t have been there if my autism had been discovered earlier,” says Marker, who found out she had Asperger’s syndrome only after seeking out treatment for her mental health. “I went to a psychiatrist when I experienced a deep depression—which stemmed from my local education system handling my condition incorrectly.” Due to the lack of programs in place to help children with autism, Marker faced an uphill battle at school. “There was still no support from the school or the systems behind it. This was rather damaging, since I didn’t learn or pick up stuff the way the other kids did.

After being scouted at a McDonald’s a year later, Marker quickly won Copenhagen’s round of Elite Model Look in 2014, and began to balance classes with a burgeoning career. She worked locally for several years before landing a big break by walking Anthony Vaccarello’s debut collection for Saint Laurent, and has since steadily risen to become one of the world’s top runway models. Though the journey hasn’t always been easy, Marker has found in the industry a place where she can blossom. She grew up collecting images of supermodels and editorials on a Tumblr she describes as “mostly centered around photography and design—but also had vampires.” Fashion was always her dream career, in spite of her initial fears about the business’s reputation for snobbery. “I had these negative assumptions about the fashion world and the people in it that fortunately have proven to be completely incorrect,” she says. “People are awesome—I didn’t expect to make friends with all these nice, interesting men and women I’ve met around the world.”

Currently en route to Paris with model pals like Camille Hurel and Birgit Kos, Marker plans to continue being vocal about her autism after she’s wrapped up her big month on the runway. “I hope that through spreading awareness, other kids will receive the proper help they need from everyone around them, and at an earlier age,” she says. A culture of open communication, in fact, is the thing she loves most about her day job. “[What’s most rewarding] is getting different perspectives on life from all over the world,” she says of modeling. “I find listening to people’s thoughts and feelings about an interesting subject to be the best thing.”
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Models.com Top Newcomers: Breakout Season

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Nina Marker

Danish babe Nina Marker’s market value just went up. Her killer good-looks made maximum impact on the premium runways of Fenty, Coach, J.W. Anderson, Fendi, Versace, Saint Laurent and Givenchy. Needless to say, Nina is so on the rise.
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Meet the Breakout Model Class of Spring 2018



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Nina Marker

Hometown: Copenhagen
Highlights: Dries Van Noten, Chloé, Saint Laurent, Versace
Already in demand, thanks to her success during couture, Nina Marker didn’t need to prove anything this season. Still, she emerged as one of Spring’s breakouts doing what she does best: delivering confidence and attitude aplenty. And by using her social media platforms to raise awareness about autism in the midst of everything, Marker made an impact on and off the runway.
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