Friday, September 30, 2011

My first pair of designer shoes were from DSW on the sale rack -the shoes actually made me feel hopeful when I was struggling

My Givenchy shoes

Hey Girls,

Some people remember fondly their first kiss, or their first car, or the night they gave their virginity away, but for me what stands out more is the day I got my first slice of luxury. I was struggling at the time to survive on a dream, just a few weeks away from giving up my apartment, and crashing at friends' places, because I was more afraid of giving up what I was pursuing, than instability.

I lived on bargains, dollar menus and fifty percent off stickers, so it was normal to check out the sale rack at DSW in Union Square, but this one sale shopping spree was different, I'll never forget the day and I'll never forget the shoes. I still have them, a pair of Givenchy strappy sandals- that's a pic of them above actually. I plugged this experience in my modeling memoir Almost 5'4". I can wear a size 5.5 to size 7 depending on the shape of the shoe and width. Typically I am a 6B, and this is why I've worked for years as a shoe model. These above are a 6.5 and I wore the shit out of them. Really abused them. They probably hate me.

 excerpt from Almost 5'4"

......the one hundred bucks felt great. Until the next afternoon when I woke up and counted my money and realized the money wouldn’t go very far. So I spent it. It was just the amount I needed to buy a hot pair of Givenchy shoes on sale at DSW. I had never owned anything fabulous in my life. Colleen loved them too and every woman in the store probably wanted them. I hadn’t bought myself anything nice in so long. I just wanted to own something that had power that had success behind the name. On the train, in front of everyone, I put my other ratty shoes in my denim bag and slipped into the Givenchy stilettos and I hung onto the pole balancing and standing almost 5 inches taller.
Back in the apartment, after I climbed the 5 flights in my new hot shoes, I wanted to ignore those voices in my head, the sounds of pressure terminating my modeling goals for the summer.

I miss wearing those Givenchy shoes, they remind me of those hustling to survive days, and how that hustling and not giving up paid off. I remember how the shoes actually made me feel hopeful then, even when I was eating dollar menu at Wendy's and going to the Apple store later on. And although I treated them bad, like a toddler in a $500 shirt, they really were amazing shoes.

All of my moving and running around had put pressure on them, peeling away the satin overtime, straining the posture of the pretty straps, I really wore them out pounding the streets, going to castings and photo-shoots, trying to land the gig, and especially during a photo-shoot that involved a swimming pool and dipping my feet into the pool while wearing the them, all of this shoe-carelessness while striving did of course end up ruining them.

Now I think of the shoes like a piece of art, complied of my memories and a part of my journey. Maybe meant to be displayed, but I do want to wear them again. I plan to get them restored. Or try. I'll keep you posted on that!

Shoes have gotten so frazzle dazzled lately, too much crap all over the shoe, and I can't stand it, I see a cute pair of shoes from the front but then the heel looks all awkward and unfit. Finding a simple but elegant, every occasion shoe is so hard these days.

Heel shape is such a big thing for me on how I choose my shoes. Also I have small feet and I don't like to look like I am walking around carrying a brick so I hate heavy and chunky shoes, shoes that make my feet look bulky, I like dainty shoes, sophisticated but sexy shoes, a little platform is okay, but I am not into the super high high platforms, it grosses me out. And I hope that trend goes away fast.

And I'm not about luxury being best all the time, because I have Payless shoes that I wear just as much.

I don't believe that a logo or brand can define a person, I think you are worth more than the handbag you carry, and normally when I shop I pretend there is no logo or designers name on the items in the store, I look at the selection without deciding ahead of time that the brand means more than the fit--because fit means everything, and what I choose and buy and wear is because the design is timeless and quality is there and the fit works, period.  Like those Givenchy shoes are to me--timeless---beat down--but still.

With that in mind, tonight I am putting on one of my favorite dresses and different pair of cute shoes, and I'm going to explore my neighborhood and hopefully land at a memorable spot to enjoy some dinner and drinks with my man!


Favorite Little Thing: SoHo just got more beautiful: Benefit store opens!

Hey Girls,

Yay! NYer's Guess what! Now I can go to the Apple store, LUSH, and Benefit like 1,2,3. Check out the Benefit Boutique in SoHo at 454 West Bdwy (btwn Prince & Houston). Follow them on Twitter while you're strutting it.

My favorite Benefit buy...BADbag lash mascara! I'm picky about the wand and I like their big fat wand, my lashes like big fat wands.

Also check out their POREfessional pore balm here.

Read about the bad-ass gals from Benefit Cosmetics here:
Strive on!
photo credit: Robert Caldarone

Isobella Jade Quote: Keeping the try turned on

I've gotta try, that's what I tell myself all the time, trying is what I wake up for, it's what has led to everything so far. ~Isobella Jade

Plowing through modeling agency rejection- don't lose hope

Hey Girls,

I recently replied to a girl from Australia, who asked, " I have been trying to get into modelling agency's since I was 14 which was when I realised that this was my passion and I wanted to pursue modelling as a fulltime career. This is my dream!!! I would be happy to move or travel to pursue my dreams but I am starting to feel like maybe I am just crazy for wanting to be a model. I have been rejected by agencys, time and time again and I am starting to lose hope. I am 5 ft 7, I have a vey lean size 6-8 body with good bone structure. I have found that everytime I send pictures into agency's they tell me I'm not the look they are after even though I am photogenic and slim. They say I'm too short and have no future in modelling. I know height is partly an excuse as I have seen models become sucessful that are my height. Yet they all seem to have a awkard feature like big bushy eyebrows etc. I really don't know what to do now. I so badly want to be in with a good agency and I know I have the intelligence and skills to be a very sucessful model. I just havent found anyone who believes in me yet. Any advice or tips you could give me that might help me with the next step would be much appreciated?"

My reply might also help your own modeling pursuits as a shorter model facing rejection:

Hi Hun,

Being 5'7" is this strange middle ground area, your too short for fashion but you have some height that gives you a fashion appeal. But with the right ambition and mindset you can find modeling opportunities. It might be hard to find them in fashion, and I understand how the doubt of others can creep in and make you feel hopeless, but hang in there, don't give up because can still use what you naturally have to work with an agency and book work as a model. I suggest reaching out to some print modeling agencies, and I suggest creating photos that show your personality, not just your edge and fashion appeal but your smile, your spunk, natural beauty with pretty and clean beauty shots that bring out the real you. Print modeling agencies andtalent agencies work with brands and magazines that book more realistic and humanistic models, where height isn't the prime focus. They love models with personality and energy, upbeat models who bring out the personality of lifestyle and commercial brands. You can still put your length to use, and consider "parts modeling" as well, and using your proportioned body to model for editorials within skincare and ads that involve shoes, health, fitness. Don't dwell on the height thing so much, and the inches you might lack for high fashion modeling when there is so much else to pursue, fashion is not everything. Focus on the things you have that can be marketable, and produce photos that represent these assets, bring out your personality and energy in your photos, study ads of all types not just fashion ones, prepare a comp card and mail it to print modeling agencies and talent agencies. And in the mean time perhaps reach out to local aspiring brands or boutiques in your area that might need a model, be a model marketer!

I had to mail modeling agencies over and over, improving each time my photos, making a new comp card, trying again, sometimes before the one I was aiming for called. It took a self-growth, a self-improvement, a lot of work, to get my images right and prove to an agency and myself, that I may be shorter, but I have stuff that you want to work with and assets that are marketable in modeling!

Also have some experience, a tearsheet or two, might help.

Try to gain some experience modeling for an aspiring jewelry company, handbag line, or even a local mom and pop coffee shop, because showing you can, leads to people believing you can and it might take more than sending your photos to an agency to get interest. It might take some extra effort on your part. Being on that aspiring jewelry designers website or modeling in that local magazine might lead an agency that said no, to say yes. Showing your not just waiting around but busy, doing something for your goals and pursuits, shows you are serious. And a print modeling agency might not give you such a hands-on experience as a fashion agency would, but being a marketer for yourself is a good idea to gain experience and opportunity, to prove you can to them, and yourself.

Your photos are key. Make sure your photos bring out your assets, so what if you aren't giraffe tall, it doesn't take a giraffe to model that handbag, that pair of shoes, those sunglasses. Print modeling might not be as glamourous as high fashion, but you can work with great brands and magazines and products by noticing how the modeling and marketing and advertising worlds entwine. So work hard on making sure your photos represent all you can do, make sure your photos represent that doesn't matter what the product is, you have the personality to make it look great, and don't limit yourself by dwelling on the agency that said no. Another door will open, but make sure you are taking notice of the whole spectrum of what modeling is. Modeling is about modeling 'for something' so focus on product campaigns of all types and work on creating print modeling marketable photos. It's all about making it happen for yourself, and modeling is a business of rejection, so keep your positive spirit running because you're going to need it along the way of your modeling journey.


More posts like this:

Check out my book Short Stuff: on the job with an x-small model, for day and the life adventures and also modeling tips for short chicks. (Short Stuff is also an ebook for the Nook, Kindle and iBookstore, keep inspiration right in your pocket with Short Stuff on the Nook app and Kindle app.)

Jezebel reviews: Fashion week was slightly more diverse than usual

Jezebel's model graph

Hey Girls,

I caught Jezebel' post on how fashion week was slightly more diverse this past season than others, it caught my eye.

"This month, for the spring-summer 2012 fashion season, brands mounted some 142 shows and presentations in New York City. Those shows presented some 4,657 different women's wear looks; of those 4,657 opportunities to use a model, 3,837, or 82.4%, went to white girls. Some 394, or 8.5%, were given to black models. Asian models were again the third most popular ethnic group, getting 316, or 6.8%, of the available runway spots. Non-white Latina models were once again trailing in fourth place; out of those 4,657 looks, just 93, or 2% were given to them. During all of New York fashion week, models of other races were used just 17 times."
Read more here:

You might wonder what does this mean for the short chick? Well, commercial print modeling can be influenced by the fashion world, if more Asians, Latina and Black models are used in the land of giraffes than that could mean perhaps more will be used in print modeling campaigns for lifestyle products as well. However I already notice in campaigns for non-fashion lifestyle products, products people use every day: soap, cell phones,  home goods, food chains, banks, credit cards, the models and actors in these commercials and ads are they are not all giraffe tall, and you will notice that many times the campaign involves not just one ethnicity but an Asian chick, a White chick, a Black chick, a Latina chick. I notice it also for model castings, sometimes it is all one hair color or skintone, but often brands are using a range of models so that when their target consumer/demographic sees the ad or commercial there is a model in it that relates to them.  Makes sense.

Don't feel limited by your height, by your ethnic background, or measurements, focus on what you DO have and fill your mind with visuals of not just the tall lanky giraffes in fashion magazines but notice the models of all types modeling the thousands of products that YOU actually see or use or are among each day,


Favorite Little Thing: Lucky Little Darlings makes an influence

Hey Girls,

Being tall isn't everything in modeling especially when you are using your other assets to get ahead, things such as: your personality, your kindness, your ability to be on time and be professional can help you land the job. I've found that working as a model involves more than being pretty and having a comp card. And although I've shared the way girls of all sizes can get ahead in modeling on this blog, it's not an easy pursuit, and it involves a lot of rejection, this rejection can sometimes lead to needing another way of paying rent and this other source of income doesn't have to be a drag, it can in fact bring out the role-model in you.

I think you should be always using and noticing all your skills and abilities, and your asset of being patient and kind is not something to cast aside.

Striving as a model, even working as a model and booking gigs that pay well, still doesn't mean life is always stable, but using your compassion and your fun-loving nature and love of kids is a great way to make some extra cash and make an influence.

If you are a college student or recent graduate, I encourage you to check out Lucky Little Darlings, a well-established babysitting service and one of the top ones in NYC, booking babysitters, mother's helpers and weekly help also in LA, and across the nation.

I know right now they are accepting resumes from CT and Westchester of those interested in babysitting, but no matter your city (whether you are in Portland, Oregon to New York City) you can submit your resume and learn about them here.

Tell them Isobella Jade referred you :)


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Isobella Jade quote: your perception can create your road

"earrings, handbags, shoes, cell phones, beauty products, haircare, skincare, that couch, that computer, that bank, the cover of a book- models are doing more than modeling on the catwalk and falling on their butts doing it. Think about the advertising world, look at magazines beyond high fashion, notice that your perception can create your road." ~Isobella Jade

Favorite Little Thing: Lana Satchel by Vince Camuto is actually BIG but looks hot on petites!

Vince Camuto's Lana satchel is so hot! It's just really sleek and classy, with clean lines I adore. The large handware could be intimidating but it's not. A year round I love you bag.

At the newVince Camuto Grand Central store.

The Grit during The Making of a Fashion Model- NPR segment

Hey Girls!

Listen to this segment on NPR TALK OF THE NATION, it covers the book Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model by fashion model-turned sociologist Ashley Mears. And I know not all of you are fashion height, not many are, but no matter your height the segment may be of interest on some of the gritty realities of being a model, no matter your size. Modeling is competitive, it is extremely unstable, and a pursuit all about rejection, and you've prob already read about my own experiences, highs and lows, from my books and on my blog and podcast, but tune into this NPR segment...

This proves to me even more why working as a fashion model would suck and my point about why fashion isn't the end all within modeling. I don't want to just be a milk carton here this week gone the next, and although commercial print modeling has it's challenges, there is no age requirement and it's more about personality than about being a certain measurement. Girls often email me upset they can't work in fashion, when actually fashion sounds like shit.

I've met girls on the job who want to get out their modeling contracts who can't stand their fashion agents. And I always tell them and think to myself, Why not work as a print model instead? 

In print modeling you can also use "more of you" your able to smile, laugh, jump, and express happiness....sounds like more fun than being sent on no pay casting calls and being told to fuck off by the time you are 26 years old by your fashion agent.

Recently on my blog, I've posted excerpts of my book Almost 5'4" and my own struggles, grit and luckly I overcame my mistakes and went on to gain great experiences in modeling, and the truth is, modeling is a pursuit that involves a strong self-love and strong-will and a strong confidence, things I think you need to have already inside of you before you pursue a business based on perfection and being what the client is looking for today, rejection will happen, no matter your height.
Ashley Mears recently shared with  But of course, female models have their own struggles. Because many are scouted at a young age -- with an adolescent figure -- they struggle with body image as their physique matures into womanhood. “It becomes a fight for them to hold onto what initially was valuable for them to get into market: a prepubescent body,” she says. Read more here.

Girls, I've made 250 a day for editorial hand modeling, sometimes I'd be there a full day, sometimes just a few hours but then I'd get $1000 for just modeling one shoe for a product ad on a different day...modeling the product for an ad always pays more, advertising within commercial print modeling pays more, ironically it is the area best for shorter girls to pursue.

Ashley Mears shared with Slate that, " the fashion world, there is typically an inverse relationship between the prestige of a job and how much the model gets paid. A day-long shoot for Vogue pays a paltry $150, for instance, while a shoot for Britain's influential i-D magazine, which Mears calls "one of the most sought-after editorial clients for a model," pays absolutely nothing, not even the cost of transportation or a copy of the magazine for the model's portfolio.

The alternative to high-fashion poverty is to be a "money girl," working for catalogs and in showroom fittings, jobs that pay well and reliably. The best-paid model at Mears' agency, for instance, was a 52-year-old showroom model with "the precise size 8 body needed to fit clothing for a major American retailer. She makes $500/hour and works every day." But the commercial end of modeling is widely derided within the industry as low-rent, as mere work without glamour. Once a model has done too many commercial jobs, she is thought to have cheapened herself, and it's exceedingly difficult for her to return to high fashion." Read more here.

With “Pricing Beauty,’’ Mears has produced a fascinating study of an industry in which female models are paid twice as much as male models. She knits together her revealing interviews and draws on the work of sociologist C. Wright Mills, feminist theorist Catharine MacKinnon, and other social critics. Yet the greatest strength of “Pricing Beauty’’ is Mears’s own story, one that she artfully threads throughout the book. It ends with Mears getting dumped by her agency in an e-mail with the subject line “Hey Doll!!!’’


When you're pint-size it's easier to skip the bag and just carry it home

When you're pint-size at Duane Reade sometimes it's better to skip the bag all together and just carry it home.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There is no limit to what can inspire you

Hey Girls,

Here is a chat I had with pipedream comics about Model Life, publishing, and how There is no limit to what can inspire you.

Check it out here:

Take THAT! Macho comics world!

A question on parts modeling and fitness modeling and what sets you apart from all the tall girls

A girl recently asked me: I had a question about what I should focus on in modeling. I'm 5'3'' and am toning up my figure, I was wondering if I should focus on becoming just a commercial/ print model or would it give me "bonus points" if I focused on being a fitness model? Or both? I'm also going to submit to parts agencies when the time comes for me to submit comp cards. But what do you think would set me a part from all the tall girls (in a positive way)?

My reply might inspire your own pursuits as a model:

Hi ______,

You can pursue print modeling and fitness modeling at the same time, you may need different comp cards though when pitching print modeling agencies. Keep in mind fitness modeling can fall into the area of parts modeling as well. Some print modeling agencies have "parts modeling" divisions, some don't. I think what will set you a part is your range to use your personality, friendly smile, relatable appeal that fits print modeling and also have assets that could be great for a product ad, editorial, or commercial that involves fitness/the body, legs, etc.

You could create a comp card that has a pretty beauty shot, smiling headshot on the front, or involves personality, and also include on the card shots that involve fitness/parts as well. Or make two different cards. One for print modeling showing more personality shots and beauty and one that has a more body/fitness appeal.

The photos you create will be important, and you want to keep them looking as commercial print friendly and as marketable as possible. When I say marketable I mean, photos that show you "can model naturally." There is a point to the shot. It looks like it "has an editorial or ad" vibe. So if it is a shot for fitness then study ads and editorials you see in fitness and health magazines, if it is a basic commercial print modeling photo that make sure you are showing your personality, friendly approachable persona.

What will set you apart is that you bring not just your personality, great skin, etc, but you bring a tone body that can be used for editorials and product ads and that is a great asset when you are a shorter girl. So you might not have the height, but look at all you can bring to the agency and their clients, all you CAN do.

Here are some samples of shots that might inspire you among beauty, health and fitness.

Fitness modeling isn't limited to only being buff or tone, it also involves health and beauty, you'll see in magazines like Self, there might be a close up a stomach, a back, legs, or a certain part, so make sure you study ads for lifestyle products and editorials about health and the body as well before shooting.

I hope this inspires you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An excerpt from my modeling memoir Almost 5'4" on overcoming modeling mistakes with so-called modeling agencies

Hey Girls,

Along with being asked often about how to start modeling and the type of photography a shorter girls needs to pursue print modeling, I also get asked about finding agencies. You will have a hard time finding petite modeling agencies, but print modeling agencies are the best thing to pursue. To skip scams, be on top of what you need to succeed, know the type of photos a print model needs and I think it is best to be prepared, yes with the photos you need, a comp card and a portfolio that is in the making. It's best to take it upon yourself to be professional and do your homework and research before you attend a meeting with an agency. Here is more on model scams and skipping themmodel photography and finding a legit agency.

Agencies that work with all sizes and ages and agencies that have great reputations are out there. But when you work with one (or more) this doesn't mean you will be a Supermodel and the phone will be ringing non-stop and you'll be jet set, umm nothing is promised, because of course it is all really up to you and how much effort you put into your pursuits as a model.

Having an agency for a shorter girl typically means working non-exclusive and in a way always being your own manager. Modeling no matter if you are Giraffe tall or Pint-Size is a competitive, often unstable pursuit that is full of rejection and this can lead aspiring models to feel desperate or act in ways that degrade their self-worth and goals. I encourage you to keep your self-love, keep your confidence, keep focusing on aiming high. Nothing is worth degrading yourself for.  Thankfully, I got off the road to nowhere before it was too late and have found great success by believing in myself and aiming higher and focusing on my assets and by simply not giving up or settling for less, and working hard, of course.

It seems these days that every five minutes there is a new so-called modeling agency and a scam in the works. Back when I was starting out I experienced so-called modeling agency scams...and here is an excerpt from Almost 5'4" on some of my own experiences with these type of scams. 

I hope by sharing them, you skip them.

They were located in the meatpacking district. I loved the cobblestone pavement and the vintage look of the crusty brick buildings and the warehouse garage-like restaurants. Unfortunately I would only love the agency for a few weeks.

Mr. Know-It-All with his slick greasy hair, sat behind a desk in a room with only a few posters on the cement wall. He had about twenty photos taped up with clear tape revealing his hopeful Giraffes. I foolishly gave the bastard two hundred dollars.

He counted the twenties and said, “That girl—” and pointed to a photo of a Giraffe with blond hair and nice, curvy breasts— “she was just in FHM magazine!”

I was mad to have to pay him. I looked at my stack of twenties sitting in front of him, and I must have looked a little nervous because he said, “The money will be used for printing costs.” I hoped he wouldn’t spend it on some dinner he had planned with some Giraffe slut. I focused on the Giraffe’s photo on the wall. She was lean, skinny, and had a fake tan. Her nails were painted red and her teeth were perfect.

I wanted to be her.

I ignored the fact that I had made my own comp card and that I got headshots and comp cards printed for two hundred bucks myself. He rolled his eyes and huffed, “Your comp card doesn’t sell you!” and “We can’t use this comp card if you want to work with us.”

Mr. Know-It-All gave me the comp card back and a plan. “I will need to shoot you. We’ll shoot commercial shots outside with real film and we’ll make you a brand new, sellable comp card in about three weeks.”

I was confused because Gene took my comp card even though it might have looked like shit. Gene at least said he would “try” to work with it.

Now I had no choice. Mr.-Know-It-All’s words went right through me. It was as if all the buildings in Manhattan would come crashing down if I didn’t say yes. So I had to fork out the cash that I was planning on spending for my first real designer bag, a Kate Spade or a Michael Kors maybe. I was learning all about these names from reading Vogue and I really wanted something expensive that I could keep for a lifetime.

Four days later, we shot at a park on Eleventh Avenue; I met him near the highway. I snuck out early of my marketing class that afternoon. I didn’t take off any of my clothing and I wore a tan knitted button down sweater from Forever 21, which I really liked. It was all very quick, only about a thirty minute shoot. I leaned against a brick mechanic shop and gave a shy smile. I didn’t feel as confident with my clothing on. We used the entire three rolls of film, which I’m sure I paid for. When I posed on the corner of Jane and Washington Street, a dump truck drove by. The guys inside stared out of the windows and one Hispanic guy said, as best he could in English, “What magazine is that for?”

I felt like yelling back, “It’s for Vogue!”

Although after the shoot, when the photographer asked for more money to get the photos retouched, I felt the guy really wasn’t on my side. I didn’t want anything to do with the agency anymore, so I deleted their number out of my cell phone. But before I did, I called for my images and I did get my photos this time. I liked a few of them and could even have used them, but I didn’t because they reminded me too much of that fucking Mr. Know-It-All.

A few weeks later, I answered another casting I found with a few of the photos from the day with the sexual French freak. This agency had a website and it looked pretty damn professional. The models shown looked ethnic and exotic, and came from countries I had never heard of. All of the Giraffes had really good posture and they looked tall and elegant, pretty much like the fashion agencies and I was sure I would get rejected from my emailed submission. Only I wasn’t. My meeting was for 3:00 P.M. and I was to bring any photos I had with me.

When I got there, to my surprise, the agency was located in a young Greek man’s apartment. I doubted their potential quickly. A big painting of some Greek goddess gave away his heritage, along with his frisky hands. Even the shady guy in the Meat Packing District had a fucking office! Well, I was already there, so I took a seat and then stood up quickly when he asked to see my body. I don’t know what came over me but I even undressed to my bra and panties. He might not have known anyone at a single magazine and probably only read Playboy and didn’t know any editors or quality photo people I should know. Still just maybe he had one connection, which would be worth my time. I promised myself I would make every encounter count, somehow. If not to excel and get in a magazine then to get some helpful information. I did a few spins and turns and bends wondering what I would learn today.

 It was obvious that this Gianni, the frisky Greek God, the agent, liked my body and kept saying, “You have such a hot little body.”  It was an innocent compliment and I took it, but then he kept trying to tickle me. When he stopped, I smiled and huffed with an “I know I’m hot” face. Then I noticed how cold the room was and felt more awkward. His apartment was awfully and purposely cold, maybe. I wondered, Is he trying to make my nipples hard?

He said again, “You have such a cute little ass!” Then he went to smack it.

I started to put my jeans back on. For the first time I felt guilty. I was having all of these shoots and encounters, meeting random people in random places, and I wasn’t telling Danny about it.

Gianni didn’t even have a real name for the agency yet or a business card.  He said they just went by Gianni’s Models. I wondered who the other part of “they” was. They would shoot me for free, get me a makeup artist and a stylist, and make me a comp card for free, too! It sounded like a good plan. Like the agency in the Meat Packing District, they were new, aspiring. I figured that’s why they’d given me a chance so I decided to take it. I was excited. Maybe I finally had someone on my side. I had a shoot next Wednesday with a fashion photographer. It seemed like everything always landed on a fucking Wednesday, right when I had class! I figured I would miss my class. I sure as hell couldn’t be a model while I sat in my advertising class.

The young man who I considered Gianni requested the photographer for me, made the phone call and set it all up. I was impressed. It was the first time everything was already set up and planned. It could be a real chance. The photographer had a French accent, and it scared me that if it might have been that jerk that took me to Bloomingdales and made me get naked. Flashes of his stout and his tiny apartment came back to me. And the shoes I wish I stole. The message on my phone said: “Hey, Isobella, we’re shooting next week and I want you to meet me over at the stylist’s apartment on West 4th Street.” I knew that area from shopping for sexy underwear; I grabbed my agenda book and quickly wrote it down. Then I replayed the message five times to get it right, convincing myself that it wasn’t déjà vu.

... The following Wednesday I met the photographer, right on time. He wasn’t familiar thank God, and was about thirty-five or so and wore a suede jacket.  Before I could touch the suede of his jacket from a hug, I was thrown into a makeup chair and beat by the makeup brush for forty minutes. The makeup artist was Russian and not friendly. She told me her name was Ivy, but I doubted it. Ivy sounded like a name of a girl who brushed her hair 100 times a day. This Ivy had blond, teased, permed hair. It did look like dead ivy leaves. A chunk was dyed blue.

I think she knew it was one of the first times I’d ever had makeup put on because I didn’t know which way to look when she did the mascara. She kept saying, “Up up, up,” and then, “Down, down, down.”

 I was getting dizzy, and I was tired of being scolded for looking the wrong way.

Afterwards, I did look hot though.

Then the photographer just said, “Mmmm . . . uh-huh.” He told me we had to leave and took over. We jumped in a cab and I got to see New York City again from a new perspective. I loved it when we drove by the Met Life building. We shot on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the street with the traffic flying by like race cars. I had never been to the museum but now I really wanted to go. The shots were fantastic. I could feel it, and it had an “editorial appeal,” he said. Whatever “editorial” defined, it had to be something brilliant. The shots seemed very classy, the makeup perfect. I was beautiful. And for education purposes I could consider that I was getting exposed to international people for the first time.

In the street, posing, I felt like a real model, not another Internet Wannabe. At last! Cars honked at me, and men were staring. A few cabbies yelled at me through the cab window saying, “Yeah baby!”

A couple of days later, I saw the slides and they actually looked great. I called the Greek apartment two weeks later and the telephone line was disconnected. The photographer never returned my calls and I never got the pictures. Fuck, I’d wasted my time again, and I was burning pissed. Something was damning me from above or laughing at me from below.

To make matters worse, time was ticking by too quickly. Gene’s agency was the only one that would give me the time of day; he wasn’t calling fast enough with castings, bookings, and jobs.

Isobella Jade TM

Check out Almost 5'4" and my other books here. My graphic novel Model Life: The Journey of a Pint-Size Fashion Warrior and Short Stuff: on the job with an x-small model also share the highs and lows of striving as a model.

More on finding a modeling agency. Starting out modeling tips.  And the photos you need. And finding a photographer.

If you've been scammed, or if something seems fishy, if you have been through a crappy situation, you can always email me at and I will do my best to get back to you. Also always use Google as a great research tool, Google the name + word scam.

Have you ever felt awkward at a photo-shoot? Don't be afraid to walk out! I wish I had back then.

Hey Girls,

Often I get asked about finding a professional photographer, it's one of the biggest struggles for an aspiring model, and it's obvious why. The world has become more commercial, no I am not talking about commercial print modeling, although that is the area for a shorter girl to pursue, I am talking about commercial as in there is so much product out there, so many affordable cameras, easy access, so much ability for anyone to call themselves a photographer, and even someone who seems to be a professionals can turn out to be a creep.

During my next posts I am going to be sharing excerpts from my modeling memoir Almost 5'4"which is about my early modeling pursuits, these excerpts involve my early modeling mistakes, scams, bad experiences, regrets even. Things I hope you never experience.

It is actually my early years that inspired this blog. I created because a shorter girl can work with national brands and magazines like I have if she has the right mindset. It's possible to skip scams and I hope you find the posts I've written previously about finding the right photographers, getting the right photos and skipping scams helpful.  These excerpts will involve personal modeling mistakes I've overcome, assholes I've put aside and jerks and perverts I wish I never had met. I hope it inspires you aim high and strive onward, to seek professionalism, and by sharing bluntly my early modeling mistakes I hope you skip them all together~ Isobella

The next day I put on my new hot panties from H&M, dropped off my marketing final and met the photographer. He had been published in a magazine before and worked with a couple Giraffes who had been on the covers of Italian and French Vogue, which was intimidating at first. He was more experienced than any other photographer I worked with and, apparently, it went to his head.

“Oh, Isobella, look at this one; look at this.” With pride, he showed me all of these photographs he had taken in France.

He had the ideas already, and he was excited and spoke in a European accent. He would spit a little as he became more and more excited about his great idea. All I could understand was “an array of colors against your skin.”  I also got the part that I wouldn’t be paid. I would get the images and my makeup done, and I was told I would “just love the shots!” They were shots he said “I really needed for my book.”

“Isobella, you have such a pretty face but your shots are not doing you justice!”

My nose did look huge in the picture he was looking at. I sat back in my chair for the first time and let him run the show. He seemed to like that I didn’t talk a lot. He liked the feeling of control. I could tell he took control when he fucked a girl, too. No doubt he didn’t even care if she came.

Then it was my turn to speak. He showed me pictures of himself that he took when testing the light. “And look! This is the light we will use when we shoot! Isobella, don’t you like it? Wow! Isn’t it intense?” The light was intense but he looked awful, posing like a fucking statue in Italy or looking like a goblin.

I didn’t know whether he was showing me pictures of himself to turn me on, or hoping he’d receive a compliment from me. Neither happened.

Next he was telling me to stand up and show him how I pose. I got up and stood against a nearby wall. I spread my legs, stood tall, and lifted my arms above my head, elongating my body and giving him a sexy expression, my eyes creased and my mouth half open. He didn’t like it. He made a face.

“That’s it?”

I stood straight again. I let my arms fall to my side.

Excited, he jumped up and said, “This is how you do it, baby!”

He touched me, moving my body and my arms—showing me how to do it right so I would be prepared the day of the shoot. Yesterday, it seemed I was being bitch slapped and called a Wannabe. Today this photographer was telling me, “When you pose, when you model, you need to be the star!”

I listened. I followed his example. I moved my body, angled my neck, my wrist, my hips. I was his rag doll, just doing whatever he said. I think he wished he could have fucked me right that second. I think he wished I was his little slut. But I wasn’t.

I took his control as a sign of his seriousness. I thought, He must be good if he has such a vision. It was in his style, and the makeup and hair was his choice. He wanted to be the one to wet me down and choose the sexy shoes. To him I was a girl he could boss around and we both knew it. 

The following week when the day of shooting was done I was wet, tired, and my hair was very stringy. He had thrown me in a cab five hours earlier; it was one of the first few times I had been in a cab. I was getting comfortable with the subways, and I figured only rich people took cabs. Life on the subway was for the average person and being on the train allowed my mind to wander and for me to relax in a world—in a reality—I could create in my mind.

However on that day, the photographer took me by cab to Bloomingdales for a makeover he said I needed. I tried not to take offence to the comment and just thought of it as a little pampering for myself. I was to get my makeup done, try on shoes, then he bought me makeup and we borrowed a pair of three hundred dollar heels from the store. It was my first time in Bloomingdales and I felt awkward, messy, and inappropriate. The makeup artist could tell by my quiet, mouse-like acceptance.

I had no opinion that day, and for once I let someone else worry about making something of this shoot. The photographer and I spoke before the shoot about shooting some commercial style photos, even though that day he was more into Maxim style photos and ripping my shirt and pulling at it to make me look more alluring. He was telling me to tug at it and asking me, telling me, moaning to me, to “look more alive.” He was getting very vocal, “Rougher, rougher!”

Of course I did shoot a few topless shots, but then when he got perverted and unprofessional, asking me to go completely nude, I felt differently.

I simply told him, “I’m tired and not in the mood for shooting anymore,” but really he scared the shit out of me. Maybe it was his “whiney, little-boy-with-a-pout” expression, but I was really turned off. I told him so.

            This wasn’t a good comment to make. It wasn’t good to make any comment to ego-driven photographers, I was quickly learning. He got pissed and stomped his feet, and his little pathetic pout was actually more humorous than mind-changing. I never worked with him again. Plus, I couldn’t trust him. He was French, and all he talked about was sex, sex, and more sex. I didn’t feel sexy around him, or powerful.

Instead I felt weak, like I was trapped in his apartment, his bed too close to the backdrop where we were shooting. The lights were off and it was too romantic for a shoot with a guy I wasn’t even interested in. I wondered if the door was locked.  I think the photographer thought that after buying me expensive shoes and getting my makeup done, I would do anything. That I would pose any way he wanted. He treated me like I owed him. 

When I went back the next day I received a CD. I put it in my denim bag from The Gap. He acted like nothing had happened and I thanked him awkwardly, like a good little model should, then I jetted off. I had kept the makeup but foolishly left the three hundred dollar shoes.

Isobella Jade TM

If you've ever been in a situation like this, you can always email me, by sharing my early modeling mistakes in my modeling memoir Almost 5'4" I hope you skip them. I wrote this book not just as a support to the underdogs and shorter models, but to also show how easy it is to be scammed and put in a bad situation.  It is possible to overcome your mistakes, strive on and aim higher and I wish for you to never experience anything less than a safe and smooth journey as an aspiring model. ~IJ

the power of being still can inspire you

Hey Girls,

Last week on my podcast I plugged this article called Don't just do something, stand there...a tongue twister for sure, but it's an awesome article about finding your creativity, and how the power of being still and enjoying life can also bring inspiration. My mom shared the article with me, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

There are little ads for books throughout the article.

Aim high and strive on!

Answering questions on modeling schools, casting sites and model marketing

Sometimes when I am running errands or on my way to meetings I answer emails from aspiring models, this is one from the weekend. An aspiring model recently asked me:

I wanted to ask about "modeling training/school".  My friend suggest I should get some training before I put myself ahead an agency or castings... How do you feel about it?  Also I wanted to ask a question on castings. Where is the best place to look for castings? Can you find some online? One other thing my mother never supports me within modeling. How can I over come that issue, and still go after my dreams?

Hey Hun,

No most modeling schools are scams. Waste of money and if you're not fashion height learning how to runway walk whatever isn't needed. In print modeling and parts modeling it's all about personality and looking proportioned photos and having the photos you need to best market your assets.

Having a compcard and getting your portfolio going should be the main goals at this early stage. Print agencies mostly work non exclusive which means you can work with more than one agency. And it's helpful to have your own compcard ready so you can pitch agencies.  It's all about being prepared...already having photos and knowing what print modeling is, and how to naturally pose/ model...all important stuff...print agencies dont have time to teach models they work with typically, and they like you prepared so aim to get your professional print modeling photos and comp card and then you will be able to mail the mto print modeling agencies and talent agencies. I'm not a fan of most modeling schools, workshops, etc. The ones I hear about always sound like scam-land or just something to "make a girl feel like a model" or they don't share the modeling industry as a whole...they only focus on fashion.

If you already have a compcard, it is easier to market yourself, it's your professional model marekting tool and maybe you can approach aspiring brands or accessories designers in your area to get some experience working with aspiring brands and designers. During the holidays season a lot of craft shows go on and maybe you can market yourself to some aspiring brands. Always think "marketing." Just get the photos you need, that represent your realistic goals and remember for a short girl a smile shot, showing your personality is good to have, and for fashion shots stick to accessories, things where height doesn't matter. Jewelry, hat, handbags.

There are MANY online scams, I suggest just a few: as better ones.

You could reach out through email or I think tradeshows, craft fairs, or walkin into smaller aspiring boutiques asking if they need or use models. Brands that might not have $ for a fashion model might work with an aspiring model who's shorter.

When it comes to your mother, keep in mind modeling is a tough pursuit, it is a lonely one, and very competitive, and there is always risk involved with pursuing something that can easily involve rejection...but talk to your mother about your goals if you can, express to her that modeling isn't just a career to "feel pretty" or "be noticed," it is a business where real people, girls of all types and ages are used in ad campaigns for legit brands and products and you believe in yourself and want her to as well.  Then go after the print modeling world, get after getting the right photos and your comp card and marketing mindset ready for a journey. And remember, always be careful of scams, and never degrade yourself and your self-worth, you are your own best marketer and the engine of your dreams.

More on this stuff:

And Girls! I have behind in many emails because I am wroking on new book projects but I do try my best to get back to you and my blog is always here for you,  search in the upper left corner words related to your questions, posts should come up! I hope this helps!


P.s: Check out my book Short Stuff: on the job with an x-small model, it is an ebook and also includes some modeling tips for short chicks!

Monday, September 26, 2011

PAN AM dresses (sort of) for petites

Hey Girls,

My first impression of PAN AM was the word girdle.  LOL, hehe. Did you notice at the start it was mentioned that the girls/ Pan American stewardess had to be unmarried and under 32? Also they were weighed and had to have on the right equipment and pantyhose.

Learning about the background of the characters, before they were stewardess was intriguing, and the "real"  secret tasks of the stewardess, their secret love affairs and play with the pilots.

The styling and hair on the girls looks great. I think more women than men will actually watch this show, despite that the girls are beautiful and sexy, there is a feeling of independence, power and girl power that I think can carry the show. It's female driven. I like how they are pulling from real American history and applying it to the show, you can learn about some of the history of Pan American World Airways here.

If you live in NYC you might have noticed that when they were in London there was a shot of the bar Ulysses. That's actually on Stone Street, here in NYC, when I lived on Wall Street I went there often.

I was like what the hell, THAT's Ulysses! They aren't in NYC, I thought they were in London, okay, they are shooting this in NYC pretending it's London, I guess cobble stone streets do that...

If you are into vintage like I am, check out these dresses, they remind me of the glamour of Christina Ricci's ensembles on and off the airplane.

Find at
Find at JCPenney Petite's online.

Find at JCPenney Petite's online.

Find on

Cheers to being pint-size!!

Favorite Little Thing: Carnelian Knoll earrings

Hey Girls,

I stopped by Crafts on Columbus this past weekend, and picked up these pretty hand painted glass earrings from Julie of Carnelian Knoll.

I plan to wear them with little black dresses and they will go nice with my navy blazer I wear almost every day now.

Stop by and see Julie and her beautiful pieces at Columbus Avenue at 79th Street
September 24-25, October 1-2, October 15-16 (no shows October 8-9)
10 AM to 5:30 PM each day


Isobella Jade quote: Things to love

Hey Girls,

A thought on the things to love.

It takes a huge amount of self-love to not be influenced when there is so much to compare ourselves too, it's so easy to focus on what appears to be a flaw in ourselves and have desire for what we don't have and ignore what we do have. But I hope you find that your heart and your mind are your most powerful possessions, and that it's worth it to be true to yourself, your beautiful the way you are, I hope you discover that the size of your nose, your measurements and booty are things to love too. ~IJ

I hope your week starts off good, gets you thinking and moving towards your goals, each day is a new chance to strive, so focus on the future and the things you want and glide! :)

Strive on!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Itty Bitty in the City and the rain

Hey Girls,

Earlier was at Black Label nails in Midtown East, 318 Lexington Ave, between 39th and 38th and had a nice mani-pedi, I'll be back. :)

Then had a last minute casting for hands and feet on 27th Street, and now attacking my writing. (Working on new projects that I am looking forward to sharing with you in a little while.)


Favorite Little Thing: Old Navy's Petite section and jersey skirts!

Hey Girls,

Because Old Navy has a petite section online, it is one of my favorite little things this week!

This soft jersey skirt (find it also in green, black and brown) might not be good during the coldest winter days but for early fall and into the colder season it would be good to pair with tight, with some cute booties, a blazer, and wear the hell out of it and then you can rock it again come Spring. 

I shop for items to be worn for more than one season, I like my favorite pieces to be stretched year round.


New York City Craft Shows & Markets coming up! I'll be there shopping!

Hey Girls,
This week I saw some tents being set up at Madison Square Park for Madison Square Eats, going on now until October 21st. Get your EAT on!
This weekend starts Crafts on Columbus. (I love craft fairs because I always meet cool designers, find unique jewelry and original items, like these
Show dates: September 24 and 25, October 1 and 2 and October 15 and 16.
Columbus Avenue at 79th Street.
10 AM to 5:30 PM.
Also, the Union Square Holiday Market opens on November 18.

More on markets of New York, click here.

Yippy Skippy! Isobella

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nancy Upton rocks! And her chicken looks yummy!

Have you heard of this awesome chick? Bust magazine reported how Nancy Upton isn't what American Apparel is looking for, but I have a feeling her future will involve an ad campaign anyways. I don't eat a ton of chicken (but my man's from Texas and he does), and her tongue-in-cheek photos, as Bust calls them, made me smile. In all seriousness, I think Chick-fil-A should glam up their image, call her and make her their spokesmodel and pay her a lot for it, she also rocks those sunglasses well and I could picture her in a sunglasses ad or a hair care ad as well. I am not sure her height, but you gotta love a girl who is making a statement that all sizes are sexy and beautiful and able.

American Apparel was looking for a model for the launch of its plus size line. They decided to have a contest where people could submit their own photos and other people could vote on it. The company used the tagline, “The Next BIG Thing,” which made a bunch of people mad. But one plus size woman decided to get even. Nancy Upton, a size 12 actress and student from Dallas, submitted her own photos. All of them combined elements of food and sex. Some photos featured Upton covering herself in ranch dressing. In other shots she’s using a cherry pie to hide her lady parts. Some people weren’t sure about the intent of the photos, but Upton admits they were intended to be tongue and cheek. Of course if you take out the pie and the rotisserie chicken, all the photos look a lot like the real American Apparel spreads. So you can understand the confusion.  Read more...

Aspring Models Being Prepared for Your Success

Hey Girls,

I wanted to share with you some of the highs and lows of striving as a shorter model and how some old school modeling marketing methods still work, even in this Internet age. I've been there and made those mistakes of thinking the Internet is the best place to start marketing yourself as a model, and I wrote about in raw detail in my modeling memoir Almost 5'4", and the crap I went through, wasted time, and overcoming those moments of doubt, thankfully before it got really terrible I learned from my mistakes and headed in a brighter direction but still....I really do hope you do not ever get scammed or find yourself in a sketchy situation. I wrote about my early pursuits honestly because I want you to skip the bullshit that can easily find you when you are young and trying to figure out how you fit in this modeling world.  Striving as a model doesn't mean you have to associated with assholes and jerks, yes you will meet some, but you can rise above it during your own modeling journey.

I started pursuing modeling and become curious just as the Internet Age, emails, websites, social sites (mainly AOL) were getting to be an everyday social activity in our lives, which makes it sound like it would be easier, and the best way to market yourself, but I found the opposite. The Internet and these social media model sites seemed like the perfect place to show off myself and photos and introduce myself as a model but if I could go back in time and change things, I would have skipped that period all together. I sure learned what an asshole amateur photographer was and the mistakes of shooting with the wrong people. I had the wrong photos, totally unmarketable. The wrong mindset and didn't know where the door for me to enter was to work with modeling agencies and work with professionals. Tears and frustration later, after researching more, thinking to myself "there's got to be another way" and striving higher and aiming higher, wanting more, looking for it--- a photographer I had reached out to who had worked within the advertising world shared with me that models are all sizes and that high fashion wasn't everything, a light blub went on, and I started to think more seriously about what it was I had, and how I could turn it into something that could be used in ads and editorials in magazines. I had to stretch my mind, and be perceptive about how if I wasn't tall that didn't mean I was limited. I started to see that I could be more. And that there was more out there for me, if I wanted it.

Some people say you have to experience a scam to know a scam...and maybe that's true, but you can skip the scam all together by having the right mindset.

It took a re-do of my photos, it took a massive amount of research of the word print modeling. It took trial and error. About a thousand stamps and envelopes and comp cards made and then re-made over again, to finally see that although I was pint-size, I had something’s that could be marketable. I could see why a brand would want to hire me: my spunk, my smile, my personality, my great skin, my ambiguous look that could portray more than one ethnic background. I started to bring out the best of me in my photos and focus on what I did have and said FUCK YOU to the assholes who didn't see this in me or didn't know what I now knew.  Modeling was about modeling products, it was about the marketing and advertising worlds, it was about selling an image or editorial story, appealing to a readership, appealing to a consumer, and being what they are looking for, for their ad campaign, editorial, product ad or project.

I started to be a marketer. Creating a better comp card. Working hard to create better and more marketable print modeling friendly photos, that had purpose. And accepting what I was and finding ways to use it to gain opportunities within print modeling by just being myself.

Being perceptive is so important. If you can accept what you aren't, and embrace what you are, you will be more likely to strive as a model, even if you are short.

It is so easy to get screwed and make mistakes, easier now than ever, and I encourage you to slow down and notice that some of the old school model marketing methods are the best ways to skip scams and prepare for your success.

1. So how does that agency find it's models?
In print modeling there are typically no open calls. Sometimes the website of the agency will say how to submit photos, usually they ask for a comp card or headshot. So I stress to you to have these things. A prepared model is less likely to get scammed.  A so-called agency will encourage you to pay crazy amounts of money for a photo package, pay to be on their website, etc. And these are things to run away from. You can find better professional agencies out there, so focus on finding them. Print modeling agencies work with hundreds of models, they do not have time to scout talent and they are too busy for that, so you typically will need to be aggressive with postal mailing your photos to the agency, yes like Old School ways, with a stamp. Don't think your submission to that agency by email is the best thing, they get a million more than just another chick sending her photos in, be prepared in a professional way, already skip the "pick me, pick me" and give them a reason to want to work with you already by being prepared with your model marketing tools.

2.  I thought I could be a dumb model, what happened?
As a shorter girl striving to work as a model, you need to be smart and perceptive about the photos you need, the photographer you work with and a lot of times you are like your own manager, the engine behind your goals. So be prepared for massive amounts of research and do not rush into just shooting to shoot, only work with a photographer who knows with print modeling is, and always ask questions about photo rights and usage, cost, and all the details of the shoot ahead of time. Have a plan of the photos you want to get, rip out tearsheets and samples of the goal you have in mind for the shots. LEAD your goals, know what you need and even if it takes longer it is better to focus on getting the best marketable photos you need than wasting time winging it. Your face won't change that much in a few months or a year/s so don't rush into your model photo plans until you know the photos you need and you are working with a photographer who is on the same level. An aspiring model has to be a go-getter, a marketer, gain.

3. I have the photos and comp card (and an agency) but why isn't this working?
Maybe you've mailed your photos out to agencies, maybe you've met a couple, maybe you're working with a few non-exclusively, but that doesn't mean the phone will ring all day. I think the real way for a shorter girl to get ahead and get the work she wants to get is to think of her modeling pursuits as a small business, she is the business, and if you aren't willing to strive beyond waiting for the phone to ring, then you might be waiting a long time for opportunities. An aspiring model should be collecting and creating her own list of contacts, aspiring brands, editors, marketing professionals, those who hire models. Because while working non-exclusive with agencies, even if the phone isn't ringing, it doesn't mean you are waiting, you could be working. Networking is so important as an aspiring model, because having some experience can lead you to more work, being able to show your agencies "Hey, look, I've done this online catalog for this aspiring jewelry company," shows you are serious about your pursuits, already in motion, a model they should be marketing, and the work you've done can bring in more work. And inspire the agency to also market you more. Always be updating photos, agencies like that. And while you at it's a good idea to strive to get some of your own tearsheets that represent your goals as a model and show you are gliding towards your success.

Being self-made tough, it's a huge hustle, there are days you cry, bitch, wonder if this is worth it, look at your bank account and sigh with depression, and it is not an easy journey. But staying in game is so important, keeping your will to try, focusing on the future and learning from the past. Being prepared for your success really is about not waiting.  There are scams on every corner, just waiting, there are some not so nice people in this industry, there is a lot to invest and the rewards can take time to gain, but they can be can find your opportunities by giving yourself a chance and striving to bring out the best of you. Aim to prove that your height isn't what is holding you back. It's not your age, it's not your measurements either. The only thing holding you back is go get your ass moving in the direction you want to go, you can overcome the odds, put aside the rejection, and put on your take no shit hat and get anxious and excited for the research and prep work that is involved with crafting your own career.

Aim high and strive!