Maxine Woodring is like a flower child meets rock ‘n’ roll pixie, and we are obsessed. Born and bred in California, Maxine is a musician, model & vintage collector. Recently married to her lifelong lover in a very intimate ceremony, Maxine is about to release an album written around the first few months of meeting her now-husband. Maxine runs a vintage store with her husband collecting classic American vintage that tells a story. We loved getting to know the shy and humble Maxine and know you will too.
You grew up in the Valley, just over the hill from the Topanga Canyon in California. What was your childhood like there? What were some of the things you loved to do as a child?
It was sweet. I have always had a good relationship with my family, they are really loving and attentive. I loved to draw and read and spent a lot of time with my older sister and with my animals. I had a few tortoises, a chinchilla, and probably went through about twenty cats in my childhood! haha. When I was a little older, I discovered music and that took over. I became way more isolated, quiet, and introverted. But when I think about being a kid, mostly I just remember always running around creating or making something.
You are a beautiful musician and songwriter. What inspires your songwriting? Where do you feel most inspired?
I only really write about things that have directly happened to me. So, I guess in a way, life experiences are most inspiring to me. I am quite picky with music but I really, really love the music I love. I sway from Elliott Smith and Jason Molina to old country and western music, to folk music such as Joan Baez or Richard and Mimi Farina. I get inspiration from all of those musicians, and I think if you put them together, that’s what I’d like to sound like. I play really simple and personal songs. That’s what I am drawn to most. I think I feel most inspired probably in my own house, surrounded by the things I love. Getting outside somewhere beautiful doesn’t hurt. However, at least for me, the best songs seem to come when you’re in a car, feeling sad on a porch late at night, right before falling asleep and maybe laying on the floor. They come when they want to.
You are about to release your very first album! First of all, congratulations. Tell us a little bit about it. What is it called? What is it about?
I wrote all of the songs around the first few months I met my husband. They are my favourite songs I have written so far. I’m still working on them but hope to release them sometime this year. It is called Saint’s Name. I suppose it is about being really in love and the fear of losing that. It’s also about being a wife and the sadness and happiness that comes from everyday life. It’s all very personal, usually drawn from very specific moments. I can only really write that way.
You were recently married, again congratulations haha. We love hearing people’s beautiful wedding stories, we truly believe it gives such a sweet insight into who those people are. Some like big extravagant weddings, some like subtle small weddings etc. Tell us about your wedding.
I definitely didn’t have a big wedding. I really wanted to be married, but the wedding part wasn’t very important to me. We just picked a day and went to a little place in our neighbourhood. They marry you in about a half-hour, paperwork and all. It was beautiful and private and meant a lot to me, even though it was so casual. Maybe I am old fashioned, but as soon as we got married I just felt content and happy and life got better. I really prefer it! haha.
We hear you too are a lover of vintage, even recently starting a vintage store of your own with your partner. What era of clothing do you love most? What do you look for when collecting vintage?
I gravitate towards things that are really individual and tell a story, but are also comfortable and practical. I mostly wear vintage jeans and overalls, old thermals and button-downs, and cowboy boots every day. I love really old and messed up clothes, western wear and classic Americana clothing like old Ralph Lauren. But I’m really not a fancy dresser, my main inspiration is the way farmers dressed in the 1930s to '40s. Billy’s style in the movie Where The Red Fern Grows is what my husband says I dress like. My favourite pair of overalls are so old and torn, I have to safety pin them to stay on. Sometimes, I sway from that and want to feel very womanly. For me, that’s always a long, beautiful dress, sometimes vintage and sometimes new. I think that all translates into the clothes we sell too. Everything is hand-picked and if I or my husband wouldn’t wear it, then we don’t sell it. It has to speak to me.
Having grown up as an introvert, who kept to themselves. How did you find modelling and playing music? Both professions require you to be quite vulnerable, how have you found that experience, did they help build your sense of self-esteem?
One of the things I liked about music when I was younger was that I could do it alone, just hanging out in my bedroom. I spent a lot of summers and weekends teaching myself how to play. I had lessons for a while, but never really liked them. I didn’t want to be told what to do! I enjoyed it so much more when I just did my own thing. Modelling was a little different, as I didn’t seek it out. I was scouted and just decided to go for it, as it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. They both were quite vulnerable and scary at first, but with time, you just get tougher. With music and modelling, it seems to me you are just selling who you are. That got easier as I got older. I just cared less about people’s opinions of me and realised my opinion of myself is definitely the harshest one.
You have said that what you value most is Authenticity which is such a beautiful sentiment. It can be really tough to be authentic with outside influences at play, this unrealistic expectation that we must conform but also sometimes not knowing ourselves yet. What advice would you give to someone?
I think the best advice is to give things time and let them happen naturally. Whenever I seem to push too hard for something or get all upset and manic, it never seems to happen and I get discouraged with who I am and what I want. But I’ve learned you never know what is coming your way. That always surprises me. When I am at ease with myself and gracious with what I have, more things seem to fall in line for me. Listen to yourself and trust your own gut instincts. Have faith. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee like it’s the last one you’ll ever have.