karl lagerfeld

Too Real to Model

Do I look too tall in these photos?Since the moment I started to dream, I have aspired to be a model.  Even in my years of low self-worth, I had an undying aspiration to be on every cover and catwalk.  My Mom enrolled me in every class she could and even scraped up every dime we had to send me to a model competition.  While we all know that a lot of these 'model activities' are schemes to get money, the experiences I had were invaluable and in some ways helped sand my confidence into what it is today.

I had my first photo shoot at 6 years old and was signed by ABC Kids (a then small agency in Portland, Oregon). As I began growing, even though I was still a child, I literally outgrew most of the jobs at the agency so we went looking for another route.  At 15 an agency asked me if I would go overseas however my Mom was not comfortable with me going on my own and as a single Mom there was no way she could travel with me.  Thus, that opportunity was out.  At this point, I was growing like a weed and had reached 6'3".  No matter where we went, they began to tell me that I was too tall.

Too tall to model?

Yep.  Everyone said that they liked my look and presence but that I was too tall to wear anything off the rack and thus were of no use to them.

My dream has never changed but my focus did as I started playing basketball and worked hard to gain a scholarship to The University of the Pacific.  After playing for five seasons (I redshirted), I decided to walk away from the sport and pursue my life long dream of becoming a model.

Yes.  They told me I was too tall at 6'3" and I was now 6'6" but tell me I can't and I will show you I can.

I flew to New York and hit the pavement.  For a month and a half I went to every single agency in that city and EVERY SINGLE one of them said they loved me but didn't love my height.  Rejection. Rejection. Rejection.

Meanwhile, My Mom heard about an agency in Portland called Sports Unlimited.  It's specialty was providing models with sports experience for athletic and lifestyle retailers.  It was and is a great agency but the fact remained that I was only retained because of my basketball background and not just my abilities as a model.

I moved to California and began my career in the NBA but I never let my dream die.  I go after every opportunity and through my blog I have been blessed to model for retailers like Height Goddess and Candid Art.  I will continue to attack my dream until I succeed.  That you can be sure of.

Recently while traveling I picked up the fall fashion issue of Harper's Bazaar.  There was an absolutely beautiful spread with amazing women entitled Carine Roitfeld's Singular Beauties: An Homage to the Diversity of Women.  6'8" model Erika Ervin (also known as Amazon Eve) was featured and might I say looked absolutely stunning.    

6'8" model Erika Ervin (also known as Amazon Eve) appeared in Harper's Bazaar Magazine in Carine Roitfeld's Singular Beauties: An Homage to the Diversity of Women. Photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.While I am extremely happy that Erika was featured, I couldn't help but to be mad at the fact that it takes an homage in order for a woman above 6'3", as well as the various different types of women featured in the spread, to get every woman represented in a fashion magazine. 

It has to stop.

Every single, solitary woman should be able to thumb through a fashion magazine and see a version of herself in the pages.  A feature every now and then doesn't cut it.  The fact that the industry has standards of what is too short, too fat, too tall and too real is something that needs to be changed immediately. 

I dare every magazine to use real models on a regular basis.  Throwing real in every now and then is nice but making a continual movement to show the world that every shape, color and age is beautiful would be epic.

But you can just continue to make every woman in society think she should be one certain way.  It's easier and takes far less courage.