We Invented Online Portfolios for Models and Actors in 1995 - Enough Dreaming. It's Time to Be a Star!

New Faces® Modeling & Acting Advice

NEW FACES® ADVICE - A Short Girls Guide to Modeling

So you don't think you can model? Or maybe you were told you were just too short? Isobella Jade, the author of the book called: Almost 5'4"- hence her height, gives us the scoop on how at only five foot and one inch she still became a model.

I like to think that one inch helps but it doesn't. Really and honestly when it comes down to feet and inches, I have no shot of modeling if you are considering the standard requirements of the modeling industry. That hasn't stopped me though and I have been able to still get an impressive resume from my own will and persistence. Mainly this is because I haven't given up. My portfolio of shoots for Braun Razor, Time Magazine, Urge, Woman's World, Bon Appetit, and Marshalls is proof that the short girl can surpass in the modeling business. I pride myself in knowing that I have gotten jobs that many petite females would scream over in shock. I don't walk the runway under the tent at Bryant Park but I have learned to use what I got, (great eyes, great skin, a proportioned body, great hands, and feet, and some junk in my trunk- my behind) to over come what I don't (height). It has worked and helped me to get ahead. I have made modeling more about marketing, and with this unconventional thinking I have gained a surprising title as "Model," despite my nickname as "itty bitty." So if you don't think you can model, you better look in the mirror again. That is tip number 1.

Here are three tips from The Short Girls Guide to Modeling to help you get a start.

Look in the mirror: and get over the inches you lack and start paying attention to the inches of what you got. You might think modeling is only seen in sexy men's magazines or Towering Tall fashion magazines, but this is simply not true. The first step involves getting over the short sighted mindset that you might have. If you want to model and you are not 5'7" or taller there is still a lot of modeling you can do, but you have to understand where you fit into the modeling industry. Start by taking a look at your skin, your hands, your feet, and your facial features and even your curves. All of these items can help you become a model.

Do you have nice feet?: I have done a lot shoe modeling for Brown Shoe, and an ad campaign shoe modeling for Marshalls recently, and also shooting editorials involving Nina shoes. I have a size six foot, small yes, but it is also the sample size for many commercial shoe companies and they always need a technical shoe model, or models for their shoe shows three- five times a year. Suddenly the struggle I once had while finding a shoe in my size at the shoe salon, has become my perfect fit profession as a shoe model.

Putting your Petite Proportions to Work: Even though I am 25, I have done fit modeling for a children's clothing line and for teen fashion magazines because of my petite size. Maybe you are a size ten or twelve kids and you didn't even know it. There is a whole industry for children and teen fit modeling. Also a lot of actors are petite which means for us "shorties," we can act as their body doubles, stand-ins, and fit models, for them. I did this for Rachel Bilson and Christina Ricci because all three of us are petite.

Put your bright eyes and pretty eye lashes to use: Why not consider that modeling is also for modeling eye glasses, sun glasses, and beauty products. Which has nothing to do with height, and all to do with your unique features.

Helping Hand for modeling: If your hands are clean with very few or no blemishes then hand modeling can get you into the modeling door too. There is a whole business for hand models, think about it, nail polish, creams, and even Cooking magazines, and companies like Wendy's, Verizon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Vaseline, they all need hand models. If George could do it on Seinfeld, so can you! Someone's got to hold that hamburger in the next fast food ad campaign. Also remember that jewelry companies need hand models too, and neck models, ear models. Even if you are not tall, if you have great legs you can still be used for fitness modeling and hosiery modeling, and now all you need is photos of your beautiful parts. (I have a huge scar on my left knee, so even if you have a scar, screw it, you can still model.)

My second tip is based on getting these images that you need: If you want to get into modeling and you don't want to be another Internet model then skip the Internet all together and use the free tools available in your own city, town or neighborhood.

On your own, it might seem impossible to find a decent photographer who can hold the camera steady and who won't cost you an arm and a leg and who isn't your boyfriend or sister, but you can get images for free and good ones, if you are a savvy model. Use the Internet in ways beyond just showcasing your photo on the latest Internet modeling website or Myspace page, and instead Google the words "Photographer + (your city)." Hopefully what will appear are professional photographers in your city that shoot full time and take photography seriously. The biggest mistake new models make is working with people who aren't ambitious, serious and professional. To start: ask the photographer on the phone or through an email, what he or she is currently working on and if the photographer does any photography testing. Before you hack out money why not ask if there is something the photographer is currently working on that you can be involved with. Usually photographers have projects that involve testing out an idea or concept and they need models to practice on. This means you will end up getting images and also have a professional experience, in a professional atmosphere. Also the photographer might consider working with you for free if you give the photographer an interesting concept. Why not bring some ideas to the table. If you want to shoot for hair magazines or beauty products why not come out bluntly and say "I want to shoot some beauty and hair modeling shots, would you be interesting in testing?" I truly believe models need to be more involved, persistence and vocal with their pursuits from day one. I think modeling does involve a lot of thinking, marketing, and conceptualizing. I would like to make modeling more about being inventive and smart than being a silly muse for the afternoon or rag doll to be bossed around.

If you have no luck with contacting professional photographers yourself by finding professionals in your town then hit up the local colleges or schools. Most colleges or trade schools have a photography department. There is no harm in going in and saying up front that you are interested in modeling for some of their classes and this way you will get photos and you wont have to pay a dime and if you listen up you might even learn a thing or two about photography too. The Internet is a great source, but when it comes to launching your modeling career I wouldn't rely on one source. You can use the Internet for more than only to flaunt your photo on your Myspace page. Start researching photographers who can get you quality photos without the price of frustration or scams. By the way my first tear sheet in Woman's World magazine came from a photographer not a modeling agency. So use your personality and sell your goals to those who are ambitious like you and you might get a tear sheet too.

My third tip is Use Inventive Thinking: Even if you have your photos, some agencies still won't give you the time of day because you are not of the standard height. So instead of getting let down, ask the agent or agency booker what it will take to get your on their modeling board. Asking questions shows you are serious and just because someone says no doesn't mean it will always be a no. As a petite model you have to prove that you are capable of being a model before an agency will accept you. For this, focus on getting some exposure which will impress a booker at an agency. Think about the products you love that might not have a lot of advertising yet

Take notice to the jeans, hair products, jewelry and shoes you already use and love. Do these companies have a model for their advertising? Go ahead and Google the name of the product and see if they have a website and any models representing their brand. Then contact the company through phone or email, and try to get in touch with the marketing department, and ask if you could mail them a headshot and ask if they ever consider models. It is worth a shot. It could lead to an opportunity. Sometimes you have to make the opportunity happen yourself.

It is ok to go local and it can be the best way to find easy modeling work, so also I would hit up hair and beauty salons right in your town. As a petite model you might not have the height for fashion but you can surely model for the signage and ads for your local hair salons or a start -up company in your town. If you live in a bigger city there is usually a magazine based around that city so you can always submit your photo to the magazine right in your town for a chance to be in an editorial or even on the cover. When you want to model and you are the underdog in height you have to think beyond the typical ways to get into the door. If you want to get a modeling agency you need to flaunt your best features and get over the fact that you are consider short and show off what you do have instead. If you want to model jeans for an ad campaign, start by putting some on and doing a shoot while wearing them. Remember even grocery stores need models!

Suddenly you will find that modeling isn't only about height or being overly sexy or tall, and that it is mainly about using what you got!

Isobella Jade is the author of "Almost 5'4'" and she speaks on her modeling podcast called Model Talk weekly www.blogtalkradio.com/isobellajade

« Back To Main Advice