One of the most frequent questions I get is “I’m not tall, can I still sign with an agency?”. Most of the time this question comes while having coffee with a potential model or talking to a girls parents. If there’s one thing people know about me, is that I can be pretty direct and honest at times. I guess this is what I love about working in NY. I’d rather someone tell me directly that my photography isn’t to their liking, or it sucks than be afraid to say that and lie giving me some kind of hope.

I think that works the same way with people trying to enter the fashion industry or become a model, male or female. If we’re having coffee and you’re less than 5’8″ in height, I’m probably going to tell you to forget about be a runway or high fashion model but focus on beauty, commercial or lifestyle work. Most agencies are probably going to push you to their acting division. I”ll get the “but Kate Moss is 5’7″ and made it” comment and I’ll reply, Kate is 1 in a million, err, actually make that 1 in 7 billion. But if I had listed to people telling me I couldn’t race cars professionally or be a runway photographer in Paris, I’d never be here writing this blog post.

So here’s some advice for girls wanting to be models. This post is directed to more of my female audience since I work with female talent quite a bit. You really have to know your market. Being a 5’7″ girl in Houston or Dallas is WAY different than being a 5’7″ girl in NYC. That’s just a plain fact. Girls rocking the runway in NY are now usually 5’10 1/2″ to 6’2″. Girls in Miami or LA are going to have more of a swim/lingerie figure. Also, be honest with yourself and be realistic. Look at what’s happening in the industry and see if you either fit a current mold or have a look that will break the mold. And never give up on your dreams, but do work hard to make them reality.

So how did we get on this topic? Well because of Oly. You see, Oly who is 5’7″ recently signed with Elite in LA. Elite Model Management is easily one of the top 3 agencies in the world. While recently in LA I reached out to Elite having worked the Elite Milan a few times. Serena, who is absolutely a joy to work with and a booker there, was kind enough to send me a package of around 10 beautiful girls. This is what I like about a top agency. Right off the bat I knew I was going to choose 2-3 girls to photograph. Immediately Oly’s port caught my eye. The girl is stunning and has a gaze to die for. I then looked at her measurements and noticed she was 5’7″. But that didn’t matter, why? Because the girl can model and knocks out the gazes and poses to die for. She naturally has it, that “it” factor that you can’t measure. All I have to say is kudos to the scout or new talent director that decided to sign her.

Comment below, let me know what you think.

Photographer: Jay Marroquin | Hair & Makeup: Amber Rose | Model: Oly from Elite Model Management