• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

September 13, 2010

Michelle Christensen

The next Philippe Starck

Special Offer

Michelle Christensen, 29, senior designer, GM

Résumé: Michelle Christensen blew away car company recruiters with her innovative sketches as a student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She was scooped up by Acura in 2005, where she became its first female exterior car designer and won a major in-house design challenge. Now at GM — which recently poached her from Acura — she's upending the male-dominated car design industry.

Background check: "Growing up, my interests ranged from sketching prom dresses for friends to wanting to work in a pit crew for a racing team. In junior high I learned about exterior car design; it was the perfect melding of my interests in design, cars, and working with my hands."

Big break: "In 2006, when Acura challenged company designers to create a car that filled a hole in the market, my sketch for the exterior won — and became the blueprint for the ZDX [above], which went on the road last year."

Surprising inspiration: "I love shoes — I have about 30 pairs. Their complex form relates really well to cars. Alexander McQueen's are my favorites — his triple-buckle boots inspired the ZDX design. They are strong and functional-looking but still sexy. I'm constantly doing inspirational online shopping for heels. Interesting surfaces or shapes can influence how I sketch a bumper."

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Money Advice
Smart, Sexy Money

Live your richest life — no matter what you earn — with these no-fail tips from LearnVest's money guru Alexa von Tobel.

The Rich Girl's Money Rules to Live By

Want to earn more? Spend smarter? Live a glamorous life? Take charge of your money with our financial cheat sheet.

Real-Life Revenge of the Nerds

A new book suggests that teenage outcasts are the most likely to succeed as adults.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.