How We Met: Power Couple Maya Stepper & Mikkel Jensen On Signing With IMG Models And What’s Ahead For 2022

by Freya Drohan

Meet Maya Stepper and Mikkel Jensen—two successful Europe-born models who together form one hell of a creative couple. The Brooklyn-based pair (if you haven’t already swooned over their Williamsburg loft, what are you waiting for?) have just signed with IMG Models as they get set to take on 2022 with their respective projects and goals. Stepper, born in Black Forest, Germany, and Jensen, who is a Copenhagen-native, have not only starred in campaigns for some of the industry’s biggest names, but they also come together on collaborative pursuits thanks to their shared love of art, photography, design, and style. We caught up with them to hear how it all began—and what it’s *really* like dating an equally talented and genetically-blessed human! 

How did you meet?
We met at a dinner with friends, which I organized. Mikkel wasn’t supposed to be there but a friend of mine brought him along. He sat across the table from me. The night got really long and we ended up singing karaoke on Mikkel’s rooftop that night!

What was the first thing you thought about the other?
At first, I thought Mikkel was just a pretty guy and I honestly wasn’t too interested. What got me was that he ended up asking very genuine questions and we had super interesting conversations that night.

Did you know you liked each other right away or were you friends first?
Mikkel: After meeting at dinner where we all had a great night, we ended up meeting with a couple of friends at a park in Soho. It was extremely relaxed and friendly but I started realizing that I thought Maya was very cute. It was just a couple days before my birthday, so I decided to invite Maya and her girlfriends to my birthday celebrations. They all came and we had yet another great night. She wore a very sexy outfit and had great energy. Of course I was intrigued. Over the next couple of days we texted back and forth and I decided to invite Maya out for dinner. Maya was surprised and asked if it was a date. I said, ”Yes of course it’s a date!”

Maya: I wasn’t really in the headspace to start a relationship at the time. When Mikkel asked me out, I came up with a ‘I think we should just be friends’ type of response and was ready to never hear back from him again. Mikkel took it so cool and was like, ‘I’ll be an even better friend then.’ Something about that confidence really hit me. Two weeks in I was like, God he is my absolute ideal man and I am putting him in the friendship box?! I ended up asking him if that date was still an option and thankfully it was.

Where was the date?
Mikkel: It was a hot summer night. We ate at Sunday’s in Brooklyn.

What’s your fondest memory from it?
Making out on the grass at Domino Park!

Maya: My fondest memory was us not realizing how long we sat there for—the waiters had already started putting the chairs up on the tables…


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A post shared by MAYA (@mayastepper)

What’s one thing you admire about the other?
Maya is very considerate of others. She also has this longing for adventure which is good for our relationship as it gets me out the house!

Maya: I absolutely adore Mikkel’s creative mind and his hunger for knowledge. He is like an encyclopedia. I also love that he is such a good cook and has a very nurturing energy about him. I have him saved as “Zaddy” in my phone.

What’s one thing you always agree on?
We actually don’t often agree on things, but we always find a middle path! We value each other’s opinions and learn a lot from each other.

What’s one thing you always disagree on?
What movies to watch!

What’s one thing you learned from the other?
How to choose quality over quantity and how to invest my money better.

Mikkel: I tell you one thing Maya hasn’t learned, and that is closing the cabinets! Jokes aside, I learned how to open up and speak about my emotions better. Not an easy journey as a cold blooded Danish guy.

Maya, do you steal his clothes sometimes?
Sometimes??? ALL THE TIME! He wishes he could steal mine so he keeps wearing my sunglasses instead.

Mikkel, do you ever steal her skincare products?
They have been forced upon me, but between you and me, I don’t mind it.

What’s the funniest thing about dating a fellow model?
The ugly BTS pictures we send each other and the inside jokes we have.

Do you get to work together ever/often?
We do and it’s the best. Especially since COVID started, Mikkel has been photographing me for a lot of jobs.

What are you working on at the moment?
I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you….

Maya: SUCH a dad joke!!! We have a lot of exciting things coming. You’ll see…


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A post shared by MAYA (@mayastepper)

Maya, you’re known for your style! Where are some of your favorite places to shop in NYC?
I am? That’s very flattering. I feel like my style has definitely evolved a lot recently. I put quality first and don’t really pay attention to fast trends. I’ve been trying to shop more sustainably and so have bought a lot of vintage and second hand pieces. I love places like The RealReal; it’s where I also resell a lot of my clothes. My favorite store for shoes is a French vintage store in Williamsburg called Malin Landaeus. I also love MNZ, Assembly New York, and sorry not sorry, The Row!

Mikkel, can you share some recs for where to buy great pieces for the home?
My favorite place for furniture is Oliver Gustav Studio. He is a fellow Dane who use to have a store in NY, but now he is based out of Copenhagen. Oliver has helped me find the right things for my house for many years and in general gives great advice when you’re looking for new pieces for the home. I also really like MDFG in Williamsburg or BDDW in Soho if you are looking for antiques.

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