Christine Marzano is a tech entrepreneur and former model. She's the founder and CEO of Bods, currently focused on using AI and gaming technology to transform fashion e-commerce. We caught up with Christine to talk about about her non-traditional career path into tech and and why women need more representation in the Metaverse
Tell us about yourself and Bods.
I am the Founder and CEO of Bods. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, lived all over the world and now live in LA, which is where Bods is based. I previously worked as a model for Dior, Gucci, Balmain, Saint Laurent, etc., and then got my degree in Psychology at Princeton University. After graduation, I worked in Hollywood, acting in projects alongside A-list actors and directors. I eventually found myself working in voiceover and gaming which ultimately led me to avatars.
It was definitely not a traditional path, but the varied experiences have made me unique in how I see the space and valuable in what my combination of experiences brings to the table.
What inspired you to build this company? What's been the biggest learning curve?
A desire to have a seat at the respective avatar and Metaverse tables as a woman was a big driving force for me. I wholeheartedly believe that digital representations of ourselves will be the future and that women should be a part of creating our own identities within that space. With regard to fashion, I saw from my days as a model that the fit system was broken and wasn’t working effectively for anyone, no matter the size. I wanted to create a space where people didn’t feel judged and were instead free to make decisions based on what they liked.
The biggest learning curve in this process has been the ins and outs of computer graphics. It is a vast world that is extremely specialized, daunting, and difficult. Thanks to the amazing people I have around me, I have worked hard, learned a lot, and can now confidently participate in the conversations.
What piece of advice do you have for women that struggle with their confidence and self image?
Age helps. As I have gotten older, I care way less about what others think of me which has in turn raised my confidence and self-image tremendously.
What impact has your modeling and acting career had on your life?
Modeling allowed me to travel the world and meet extraordinary people at a young age. I was introduced to people following their creative passion for work and for the first time, I truly understood that that was a possible job route. Acting has taught me to be a better listener as well as a bit callused when it comes to rejection, so it has prepped me perfectly for startup life.
Tell us about how you view Bods having an impact on people's (body) confidence while online shopping?
My hope and my true belief is that women will start to shift from looking at the number on a dress, realizing that it means nothing and has no connection to their actual self-worth, and instead focus on how they ”feel” in it. My goal is to get rid of comparisons to other bodies while shopping and bring the focus back to each individual, beautiful body.
As a woman in tech, what do you wish was different about the industry?
If I look at my career on a continuum, my exposure to the tech industry is only a small part of a much larger whole. have to say, my experiences within gaming tech and the avatar space have been very positive. I hope that more women will see the opportunity in this space and be excited to take part. Many women are already getting into 3D clothing design, an area that was once relegated to gaming where teams were largely made up of men, so this is a wonderful sign!
As you know, we're all about community. How has your community helped you navigate your personal and professional career?
A great community, tribe, or squad is crucial. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but to continue to raise an adult! I am incredibly lucky that my family has always been supportive, even when they might have not understood what I was doing, or didn’t necessarily think it was a good idea. I was always allowed to make my own mistakes and to learn from them.
I also have some amazing friends to whom I have grown close at different points throughout my life. I can always count on them to be there as honest sounding boards, both personally and professionally. I am looking forward to growing a larger community amongst other entrepreneurs, as starting a business can be a crazy, emotional, and lonely time. To have the ear of those who are going through it or have already gone through similar experiences—it's priceless.