Season 4 EP 2
November 04, 2021
Susan Holmes McKagan. Model. Author. Swimwear designer. Beautiful thinker.
By Carolyn Hadlock
Executive Creative Director
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I wanted to interview Susan because she embodies multiple dimensions of our theme Mother (including being one). She is optimistic, pragmatic, empathetic, nurturing and tenacious. She’s equally comfortable walking a runway in Paris, travelling on tour with her husband, Duff, and playing Scattergories at home with her family. What I especially loved about her was how grounded she is. She has deep gratitude for her life— but make no mistake, she worked her ass off to get here.

Grace Mc Kagan
Mae Mc Kagen
Susan Family
The Multitalented McKagans

The McKagan family. “Grace, my eldest, is 23, and she's currently back at school at Stanford online. She’s a very talented singer and she's about to embark on her UK tour for the Redding and Leeds festival. Our youngest daughter Mae just turned 21, and she's also extremely ambitious. She goes to The New School full-time in New York City. She models a ton, and she's working part-time at a high-end fashion designer store. She's already launched her first clothing collection in New York City. We kind of pride ourselves in being sassy and funky and artsy and weird a little bit for sure. We embrace it.”

Bazaarcoverrecent
Duff Concert
Following In Famous Footsteps

Susan and Duff are supportive of their girls pursuing similar career paths to theirs, but they’re emphasizing having an education in business as a backup. “When I was modeling in my

twenties, it was the nineties and Duff was in a band, and it was a different world. Career paths have changed, particularly in the entertainment fields like modeling and music. That’s why I’ve encouraged my girls to finish their education, to keep learning and don’t bank on it. Having a good education is very important.”

The velvet rose
Susan velvet
The Velvet Rose

Susan published her first fiction novel in 2019. “ It took me nine years to write my book. I got rejected many times. It was not easy. Now I'm with Rare Bird Books, and they understand the rock and roll aspect, so they were a perfect fit. Sometimes you can tell more from an author’s fictitious novel than an autobiography or nonfiction portrayal.. You can change names. There's no fences or boundaries. You have the freedom to really go for it.”

90smodeling
90smodelingshot
The Supermodel Era

Highlights from Susan’s modeling career in the 1990s, when she also worked as a fit model for Yves St. Laurent. “I was with one of the largest modeling agents in the world. They invited me to come to Paris, and they had all the superstar supermodels. But the guy I was working with was one of the ones that's been busted in the Jeffrey Epstein thing. And we were all young girls, very impressionable. So my mom came with me when I first went, thank God. There was a lot of bad stuff going on, but I didn't see it. I'm really glad that like now in my daughter's generation with the #MeToo movement, these men that were taking advantage of young girls won't happen.”

Recentmodeling
Recentcover
A More Inclusive Industry

“I’m lucky to have such a long career. I'm still modeling, more than ever actually. I love that modeling has now opened more doors with women of different sizes, more ethnicities, like not being ageist. It's about time.”

3 chords
Three Chords and the Truth

Susan and Duff host a Sirius XM radio show, where they play artists or songs that never made it as big as they should have. Hosting the show together is just one way the entertainment industry couple remains closely connected to each other. “It wasn't always so easy, because we both were coming from a creative entertainment field where we're in front of the spotlight. So a lot of times that does not work because there's two egos and one has to be like, “no, this is about me.” It's a dance. You gotta take turns. You have to be supportive.”

Susanandmom
Susanand Mom2
Blazing a Trail of Hardworking Women

“My mom literally is my hero. She is just a phenomenal human being. She put herself through school and got her Master's Degree when none of my other friends’ moms were doing anything like that. They were just married and home with the kids, and she went through a divorce and she had to survive and figure it out. And she did all while raising three kids as a single mom with barely any money.”

Beautiful Thinking is:

“just having a POSITIVE attitude, a wonderful SPIRIT. and always keep LEARNING, keep trying to IMPROVE yourself, keep GROWING. i went back to SCHOOL and took a harvard CLASS. i took boat navigation classes and i got my motorcycle license. i LEARNED to use my air fryer finally. whatever it is, BIG or SMALL, keep LEARNING.”