Mara Beltrami New
M ara likes to say she has a lot to be grateful for, and that she considers every day a blessing.
Born in Milan, Italy, Mara hails from the Beltrami House of Fashion, which was launched in the 1900’s. Mara’s family began as tailors and shoemakers and evolved into clothing designers and manufacturers in the 1920’s. To date, the House of Beltrami is still active in Italy.
The world of fashion has always been a part of Mara’s life. It was only natural that as a young woman with a slender build, towering height, and stunning looks, that she stepped seamlessly into the world of fashion. However, this is where Mara’s life takes a momentous and life changing turn.
At 17, Mara was a top competitor for a modeling layout in Vogue magazine, but her world came crashing down when during a celebratory dinner prior to the shoot, while cooking for friends and family, she lifted a pot of boiling water and in doing so, the pot flipped in the air and the scalding water spilled everywhere. Mara raised an arm to cover her face but it was too late. The skin on her face and arms suffered third-degree burns. When Mara awoke several days later in a hospital bed, she had no recollection of the event or of the severity of her injuries. She was wrapped in gauze with slits for eyes and was basically blind.
In that precarious and painful state, every breath Mara took was excruciating. She had to use the power of her mind to switch the focus away from the pain and onto her breathing. She began using her breath as a calming agent. With that relaxation technique, she could feel herself leaving her body. This would help the pain to subside and at times completely go away. She used the power of her imagination to heal and continued to imagine going on with her life as if nothing had happened. She imagined the photo-shoot and created a "world" that was magical, full and gratifying.
After several skin grafts and eye surgeries, Mara’s face was scar-free and miraculously she was able to see.
She claims that by creating this bond with her own breath she was given internal sight. This was a turning point in her life. Mara decided from that moment on, she was going to live an inspiring and positive life. She did choose to leave one piece of scarred skin, under her arm, without any surgical grafts. She wanted it to serve as a reminder that she would be forever grateful for what she has.
To this day, Mara continues to live each and every day by focusing on her breath. This puts her in a constant state of oneness and healing. Her ongoing gratitude for the gifts she has, have led her to give back by supporting the arts, humane issues, and causes, and by giving one on one to help those in need.
Although the fashion shoot was halted, and her career was put off for some time, it didn’t stop Mara once she did recover, from pursuing work as a model, actress, dancer, and host. She has gone on to grace magazine covers, strut down runways, and work internationally as an actress both on stage and on screen. Her work has taken her from Italy to France, on to Australia, where she graduated in Architecture and studied Acting at “Karnack Playhouse,” then up to Canada to join a dance group and host her own Radio show, and then down to Los Angeles, where she currently lives with her husband Ronald New whom she met through Liberace… yes the one and only Liberace...while she was working for the late musical legend. But the thing Mara is most proud of is her commitment and passion for “giving back.” She understands the importance of giving and of donating one's time to help those less fortunate. Mara shared a very endearing story that really exemplifies who she is and has always been. When she was a little girl growing up in Italy, she recalls the countless times she wouldn’t eat her own lunch so that she could feed other children in the classroom who didn’t have food to eat. She knew that at home she had an abundance of food but that many other children weren’t so lucky. Sometimes, she would even feed her lunch to stray dogs. Mara has always been an animal lover. She has three dogs (all rescues) and she has been vegan for years.
Mara is very committed to several charities. Here are just some of the ones she supports: The Jeffrey Foundation (after school programs for children 1 to 18), The Thalians at Cedar Sinai (Mental Health), City of Hope (Cancer Research), ABC (Breast and Prostate Cancer Research), The American Musical Academy (supporting the preservation of Musical movies), Foundation for a Smoke Free America (Patrick Reynolds of Reynolds Tobacco is an activist), The Actors Fund (for entertainers who need assistance). The animal charities with whom she is actively involved include: ARGNC – Animal Rescue Group Information -www.argnc.com, Safe Haven Equine Rescue & Retirement - sherrnc.com, Classy Sassy Paws – classysassypaws (dog and horse rescue), Hope for Paws, (hopeforpaws.org), The Amanda Foundation (animal adoptions and animal care) amandafoundation.org.
Besides all of the above-mentioned well-established charities, Mara strongly believes in individual more personalized charities such as helping people on a one to one basis. When Mara sees an individual in need, struggling to make ends meet, or is down on hard times, she does not waste any time stepping in to help.
Mara has received numerous awards including, “One of the most influential women in Los Angeles" (along with Doris Roberts, Carol Connors, Alma Bloomberg, Rhonda Fleming, Barbara Fodor, and Margaret Kott), "Y.E.S. Awards" (Young Educated Singers) with Dionne Warwick and Chief Bernard Parks at the LA Blues Festival, “Ange Award” from Reef Check honoring Jean Michel Custeau, with Cheryl Holdridge-Post and Suzan Hughes, “Golden Star Halo Award” for her performance in the role of “Wife” in the play by A.R. Gurney “The Problem,” to name just a few.
One of Mara’s artistic passions is her love of music. Her husband Ron is a classically trained pianist among other things, and he is known to serenade Mara or their guests with magnificently performed pieces from (Mozart, to Chopin, to Beethoven… etc.) I had the pleasure of witnessing his talent and was moved by his virtuosity. Their shared love of music over the years has seen them engaged in several musical endeavors. They were involved in producing CD’s for Jazz/Blues Artist Barbara Morrison, they promoted the “LA Blues Festival” with great success and, they have also produced work with the great international recording star Asha Puthli. Mara sits on the advisory board for the American Musical Academy.
Mara is also an accomplished painter and has won several European competitions. She was privileged to have met Pablo Picasso, along with Huala Dio (Anna Huala) during the Pro Loco painting competition in Sanremo, Italy, where Mara took home the Silver Medal.
Through all of Mara’s adventures, travels, artistic endeavors, achievements, accomplishments, awards, life experiences, charities, and her generosity, Mara has always remained very connected to where it all began for her, the world of fashion. In fact, it was her love affair with fashion and her desire to provide a platform to showcase emerging talent, that Mara founded The Golden Needle Awards. This organization gives emerging designers an opportunity to be seen and judged by a panel of celebrity and industry experts. With the creation of The GNA Awards, Mara has fulfilled her own dream of helping designers achieve their goals and reach another level in their professional careers. Her long-term vision for The GNA is that of a growing an annual event that has the support, sponsorship, and recognition of its industry leaders. In keeping with the mantra of “May the thread of love sew the fabric of life together,” and being true to who Mara is at the core, The Golden Needle is committed to donating partial proceeds to two favorite charities each year, and in believing always that “Giving is Receiving.”
In the book, Bounce Off the Walls, Land on Your Feet: how to morph havoc and hassles into harmony and happiness, written by Merrie Lynn Ross, a section in chapter thirteen is dedicated to Mara’s incredible story. This spiritual book is a transformative and enlightening roadmap for how to live a happy, harmonious life, filled with practical techniques on how to handle grief, stress, financial woes, and parenting. Marie Lynn Ross’ comedic flair informs us how to live life as improv’ from the inside out.
Mara chooses to live her life on this precious planet to the fullest each and every day. She loves her adoring husband Ron, their three tender dogs, her dear friends, and of course her cherished family near and far. For Mara, every day is a chance to learn, to seek out new adventures and experiences, grow spiritually, show
kindness, generosity, gratitude, and of course… focus on her breath.
Photography: Brenda Saint Hilaire Photography
Dresses: Melissa Kritsotakis
Makeup & Hair: Tanya Tello
Shoes Irregular Choice (Vegan)
Aruna Seth Satin
Short Dress: Nimco Adam of Qaal Designs
(Organic fabrics hand made in Africa)
Sports outfit: Stella McCartney styled by Monika Kovacs