Models are generally tall. I’m very tall. What most people don’t realize, but what all tall girls are probably well aware of, is that at 6’2, I’m actually too tall.
This week I received an email from a fellow tall beauty asking me how I got into modeling since I’m so tall. Being the same height as myself, she had been turned down by agencies because of her height. What did I tell her? Basically, that I did it myself. But there’s so much more to it, and so I figured I’d share my modeling journey for those interested.
I began this journey in 12th grade. There was a small agency in a nearby city (London, Ontario) that seemed to work with a lot of local business and they also offered a 12 week course that covered everything you really needed to know to get started in the industry (makeup tips, runway practice, casting dos and don’ts, monologue training, 2 beginner photoshoots, etc). While I don’t necessarily endorse these types of programs (they often seem to be a money grab), it actually helped me gain a lot of experience and confidence for the future. For awhile after this I did a few local fashion shows, but nothing too big.
I then worked up the courage to try out for the second season of Canada’s Next Top Model. Though I was still very green, I was confident with my runway walk and my small portfolio and was excited for the potential opportunity. Elmer Olsen himself (of Elmer Olsen Model Management), complimented my runway walk, but then asked if there wasn’t a height restriction on the website of the competition. No.. There definitely wasn’t or else I wouldn’t have wasted my time. He said I was too tall. It was a bit frustrating but I also wasn’t entirely surprised.
For awhile after that while I was still in university, I ended up working with a small agency in Toronto, Orange Model Management. I loved the people there, but they were the type of agency that seemed to allow just about anyone onto the roster. While I had a few “portfolio building” opportunities through them, including walking in Toronto Fashion week two seasons in a row, I didn’t really get many paid jobs and I still didn’t really feel like a ‘real model’. When I finally graduated and moved into the city, I thought perhaps then a bigger and more reputable agency would take me on, but was again turned down by every agency I visited. It was at that point that I decided to just do what I was doing as a freelance model.
For awhile, I didn’t do very much. I’d pick up an opportunity here and there but they were often far and few between. But over time, I’ve networked and made awesome connections with photographers and designers, some of which have become friends. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with talent that has been published in online and hard copy magazines. Often times, I shoot for the fun of it. I work with a friend to come up with a concept and we shoot it because we love to, which means there’s no money involved. I make myself extremely busy, but it’s not all the glamour it looks like in the photos I post online. It’s hard work, and I love to create awesome content, but I’m often not getting paid. BUT, sometimes, that also leads to a bigger opportunity that makes it all worth it.
It might not be the model life that I initially hoped for, traveling and walking runways across the globe, and running around to go-sees and castings for major campaigns. But I’ve found my journey to be incredibly rewarding. I’ve created and been part of so many awesome images and projects that I’m proud of, and it’s incredibly satisfying to know that I’ve got to where I am today because of my own hard work and determination. I didn’t let the no’s stop me from doing something I loved, but rather let it inspire me to create my own path. I’m still far from being a ‘working model’ but I’m proud of who I created myself to be, which I believe to be more than just a model, but rather a personal brand. By now I’m far to old for the modeling industry, but because I’m carving out my own route, I know I’ll be going strong for awhile.
I know this post is long, and I definitely have not fully covered everything, but if you have any questions about my journey or experiences, I’m an open book so feel free to ask! I’d also love to hear about your experiences, maybe not even related to modeling. Perhaps you just didn’t let your height get in the way. Share!! ❤