Trying to be 5 foot 3 inches in the modeling world is unheard of. Want to know why that is? Because nobody wants a short model. No agencies will take girls under the height of 5’8” even though the average height of females in the United States is 5 feet 4 inches. This being said, I will probably never be hired by an agency solely based on the fact that I was born with genes that caused me to be on the shorter side.
Where to even begin this long and hard journey of mine. I am finally going to share my story here about my modeling career. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story…
I was in high school on vacation with a group of friends in Morro Bay, California when a female photographer asked if she could do a photoshoot with us. This self-esteem booster sparked the answer of yes from all of us. Once we had finished shooting on the beach, we continued to a studio shoot to finish up the night. It was there that this photographer said I should look into doing modeling. You see the beautiful, skinny girls on the front of magazine covers everyday and instantly you to strive to look just like them. Society was telling me I would never be good enough unless I looked like these girls, but this photographer was telling me different.
This thought of modeling kept swirling around my head for the next couple of years, but since I was never asked to do a photoshoot, I never pursued modeling. However, senior year of high school rolled around and it was time for senior photos. I decided I wanted to do mine a little different, actually very different. I decided to head up to Yosemite with my friend Taylor Logue where we shot all day in fields, under waterfalls, and near trees. The photos turned out spectacular and captured the nature vibe I was going for. After I had posted these photos on social media, I had people commenting those nice phrases you always see like, “So beautiful!” and “OMG model status.”
It was a couple months after this that local photographers began reaching out via Instagram to see if I wanted to shoot. I nervously said yes and began shooting right away. I remember one of my first shoots with Melody Olives (@melohhelidy) and feeling the heat of regret enter my body. I had no idea what I was doing, how to pose my body, where to turn my face, or what to do with my eyes. However, I pushed past these feelings of unknowingness and fear and turned them into some beautiful pieces of photo art.
After doing a couple more shoots with friends and getting more comfortable in front of the camera, I decided to take my modeling career to the next step. I contacted Wayne Everett (http://everettphotography.com) for some professional photos. We met at a Panera and collaborated on some ideas and a week later began the big shoot. I took my first headshots, even though I still had no idea what I was doing, and continued with three more looks. The photos showcased my fun personality but also my serious, driven side. I had a portfolio and modeling cards made that I still use today.
It was hard to find work even after my cards and portfolio were made up because who wants to shoot with a short, unexperienced model? I continued shoots here and there but decided to focus on school.
It wasn’t until winter break of my freshman year in college until I began shooting again. I booked over ten shoots in the timespan of six weeks. I forgot how much I loved modeling and meeting new people. The social aspect is by far my favorite along with creating art. My heart was so full.
I returned to LA for school where my modeling career diminished again since 1) I don’t have an agency 2) I’m short 3) I don’t have a big following on Instagram. Let me tell you, it’s hard going from doing what you love every week to not doing it at all. Fast-forward to Sophomore year of college where I was asked to an art hop. Despite all my anxiety of not fitting in or not knowing anyone there, I went. It was here that I met some of my greatest friends, inspirations, and artists.
I regained my confidence in shooting again and decided to not let the fact that I was short or that agencies didn’t want me to get me down. I even applied to a couple agencies just to see if someone would want me, and unsurprisingly, I was rejected. However, I still struggle with finding photoshoots and brands to collaborate with. Why so? Because photographers want to shoot with girls who have a good amount of followers on Instagram and same goes with brands, but I only have less than 2K. It feels like a never ending cycle of wanting to shoot with people, them not wanting to shoot with me because I have no followers, and all because I have hardly any followers due to the fact that bigger photographers don’t want to shoot with me. So how do people get so many followers that allow them to do bigger shoots and model for brands? I’m not sure but when I find out I’ll let you know!
My goals for my modeling career include spreading the message of loving your body and being yourself (More info on that listed below). I also want to model clothes for companies to showcase that not all models have to be tall and skinny. I understand that it’s frustrating seeing these flawless females modeling clothes that would actually look so different on a “regular” woman (I put regular in quotes because I believe we are all unique, but for writing purposes, regular refers to the average size woman). Being that I am average height and weight for a girl, I would love to see more average models who portray what woman will actually look like in those clothes. Another goal would be to travel and meet new people due to modeling. I have high expectations for the upcoming years and to see where modeling will take me.
“What’s the point of this post?” You’re probably asking yourself. There are a couple messages I want to share with you.
1) Love your body. Don’t let others tell you that you should be skinnier or dye your hair a certain color. Your body’s perfectly and wonderfully made. Today you see advertisements in magazines, on television, online, on giant billboards, etc. of images society wants you to look like. This image of perfection that is impossible to master. I am here to tell you that none of that matters and to be confident in your own skin.
2) Be yourself. Don’t feel the need to change your personality to please others. People will like you more for yourself than a person you’re trying to be. Laugh at the things you think are funny and be true to who you are.
3) Try and you will succeed. With the whole world telling you NO and putting you down, you have the choice to stand against these words or fall into them. I challenge you to do that thing you love and take a risk. Everything takes time so make sure to be patient along the way. Good things come to those who wait and work their butts off.
I hope my story and message has inspired you in some way. If you want to hear more or want to just talk, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org