Johanna Selhorst "Josie" Maran (born 8 May 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 5'7" 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 two consecutive years; from 2001 to 2002. Maran is also signed with London agency Storm Model Management, and 1/One Management in New York City.
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 12 August 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 on Hawaii and teach children on Jimmy Kimmel Live 24 October 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 in a relationship with Iranian American photographer Ali Alborzi and the couple have one daughter, Rumi Joon, born on 20 June 2006 in the backyard of their Los Angeles home.