Monday, April 21, 2008

interview on Petite Fashionista

I was interviewed by Valery Santillana recently for Petite Fashionista one of my favorite petite stops! I had so much fun answering these great questions for the interview. Enjoy!

Monday, April 14
Isobella Jade - The Interview
By Valery Santillana

On January 26, I visited Petite Fashionista for my daily petite fashion dose. The topic of the day was a letter from petite model Isobella Jade to Christa Jean.

I was intrigued and surprised that out there, was someone whose small voice had been yelling to be heard so much that, eventually she could be seen.

I immediately commenced a search on Amazon for her book “Almost 5’4”, read the available excerpt, and was immediately hooked. Out came the ever favourite credit card because I could not be left hanging. I wanted more.

So ladies, and for any of the gentlemen reading this, I must express that Isobella Jade’s book left such an impression on me that for the first time (or at least a very rare occasion) I feel that I cannot pen down my reactions and thoughts on her book. So here’s my attempt:

She is brutally honest with regards to her beginnings as a model. Quite frankly, even though her beginnings are in the past, I was scared for her safety as she describes some of her experiences with some very shady photographers.

By the same token, she highlights many experiences which demonstrate her independence, and her relentlessness to not let go of her dream, and I can’t help but admire her for this quality.

Isobella Jade is so much fun to read, and captivates in the same manner as she must have captivated some photographers, who finally gave her the modeling chance.

She’s so multifaceted that you just want to know more about her. However, the question is: What kind of questions do you ask someone who has so candidly relayed some of her experiences? Well perhaps the following questions, and then some, as I am sure you too will want to know more about her, and her future endeavors that Isobella Jade kindly shared.

1) What is your view on nudity? Do you consider nude modeling more challenging than with clothing on? Personally I don’t have a problem with nudity, but some would argue that it is not considered “real modeling”, and/or consider it degrading.

I think a lot of petite girls decide that since they can't do fashion modeling, because of the standards, they fall into nude Glamour Modeling. Nudity is different today than it was 50 years ago. The Internet has made it possible for the girl next door to quickly become an amateur photographer's muse and go nowhere. I am very comfortable being nude but when it is done to just be a photographer's tease, or afternoon play thing, then it gets pretty sad. I have experienced both, but there is a fine line between posing nude as a body double for an actress and just posing to call yourself a model.

I think to be nude and working with real brands or even with European magazines is beautiful and I love it when nudity mixes with fashion. I think it takes a lot of confidence for a person to be naked, although I find that sometimes it is easier for me to pose naked than with clothing on. This past Fall I went in the buff on the Stacy London show and then I posed topless for an editorial in Time Magazine there is a great agency in NYC called PARTS Models that I work with often.

2) Throughout the book you clearly describe your passion for modeling. Perhaps you could elaborate more on what modeling means to you. What is it that you want to project through the lens? Is it art? A social statement from a petite model?

At first like many aspiring and curious models I just thought of my ego, and it wasn’t about the brands or agencies, but then it became an obsession to prove I could get an agency, to prove I could get work in a magazine, with brands, I think I was trying to prove it to myself, but also I loved it when I would tell someone that I was a model and rattle off a list of modeling jobs I had done and they had to look down 5 inches at me with shock. I think after you prove to yourself you can do something that is difficult. Even if you only proved it a few times…you want more, you crave it, just to do it again. Also I saw a lot of models at castings and my jobs and I knew I was just as good as them, in appearance and personality, if not better, so that feeling makes me strive. I get bored easy and I get inspired over envy and I love a challenge. And I hope I am making a statement about petite models and that they do have a place in the modeling business. I am not trying to break down fashion walls; I am trying to use what I got and get ahead by being realistic.

3) How do you know what is required in a pose?

I look in the mirror a lot. I do! I practice posing while holding products like handbags, and while wearing shoes, and I enjoy posing in open spaces, compared to cramped locations. I like to stretch out to look longer. I like to tell a story when I pose, I think about creating a scene or a personality. I also watch a lot of movies and watch movement and expression made without words. I read magazines and notice everything. The editorials, the ads, the cover, everything and all kinds of magazines and ads. I try to understand the camera’s perspective.

4. What does a petite model bring to a photo shoot, or any other venue that a plus size and/or conventional model cannot?

We make products look bigger! And the brands love that. Petite models fit into the sample sized six shoes. How many tall girls do you know who are a size six shoe?

We bring smaller proportions which can frame a photo nicely, since you don’t have to crop us as much.

5) In your book you refer to conventional models as “Giraffes”. Can you dispel the myth that you are using the term as a derogatory term? Also what animal would you call yourself?

Well, no matter your height the modeling business is tough. I recently posed with a real Giraffe in Tampa, FL and had an amazing time. A Giraffe watches the whole prairie as the tallest land living animal with a certain self respect and acceptance. I think a Giraffe is an admirable animal similar to the way we all admire conventional cat walking models. The wonder, the awe, the grace. I think of myself as a version of Seabiscuit.

6) You were featured on “Fashion Television” which focuses on high fashion, showcases clips from runway shows from around the world, and gives us the scoop on models and famous designers. How did they get to interview you and why?

Right after I finished writing Almost 5’4 at the Apple Store I got some self earned press from Media Bistro, the producer found me from that exposure and thought my story was inspiring and emailed me and called me, and we set up a date to shoot in NYC. It was a lot of fun and I got to be honest and give a voice to what it means to try to pursue. I think I might be the shortest model ever on FT.

7) Since you started modeling have you seen a change in the fashion industry in respect to petite models?

The fashion world is fun, but at the end of the day we all just want a nice pair of jeans to wear, and I think the commercial modeling world is opening up and the retail world is changing, look at Dove, Payless, Old Navy, and even shampoo brands are getting more fashion forward, but I think in the next five years the commercial print world will show more black models, and plus size models will start to appear more in ad campaigns. As for the petite models: When a size 10 kids isn’t appealing then I will know the world is really changing!

8.) What are your future plans and goals?

Well, currently I am devoting time to my modeling blogs and modeling podcast called Model Talk, and I recently signed my book to a publisher in the U.K for 2009 distribution. And I am thinking about a film based on the book, and also I have started the storyboard to create a comic based on the book as well.

9.) Any modeling plans, updates or new pursuits:

After I wrote the book at the Apple Store, I did a string of modeling jobs. I have fit modeled for Teen Vogue, I was the lead in the My American Heart music video, I shoe modeled for Marshall’s, I was featured in an Urge commercial on MTV, hand modeled for Bon Appetit magazine twice, shoe modeling for Brown Shoe and White Mountain Shoes, featured on TLC, leg modeled for Bath and Body Works, editorials in Luna magazine, Bon magazine, Mac Directory magazine, and can be seen in the April 2008 issue of Nylon magazine. For my goals are based around how I would love to be the face of a shoe ad campaign. And it isn’t only about me anymore: I now represent a painter named Anthony John Gray through Harkrider Fine Arts.

10.) What is your favorite thing to model?

Shoes! High ones!

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