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'America's Next Top Model': Petite model, Isobella Jade, on ANTM and how shorties can make it as models

September 30, 2009 |  7:23 am

IsobellaJade_(LEGS2)_photographer_Rod_ Dickinson_2

Before Tyra was giving shorties hope on Cycle 13 of “America’s Next Top Model,” Isobella Jade was already in their corner. In her memoir, "Almost 5’4”," Jade writes about her experiences in the height-biased world of professional modeling. Now, she considers herself a petite-model advocate doling out advice on her blog and video podcasts. Recently, she has lent her critical voice to this season’s “Top Model.”

“I didn’t watch ‘America’s Next Top Model’ until this season,” explains Jade. “I had an interest, because the girls are like my little underdogs and I feel it’s relatable to a lot of girls in America. And I’ve been there. They need a perspective from a girl that’s lived it.”

Jade’s path hasn’t been easy, but she’s been able to book jobs that even tall girls would be envious of. They include Victoria’s Secret, Easy Spirit and Macy’s, among others. “I’ve had to make myself a model,” says Jade. “Despite being one of the tiniest girls out there.”

At 5-foot-4 in heels, Jade is outspoken in her criticism of this cycle. “As long as the show is on, instead of giving tips like I normally do, I’m making the show my focus: what a girl can get from it, how the show is misleading girls, and just how I’m feeling about it as a whole.”

The pint-sized beauty has no problem taking Tyra to task...

“Instead of Tyra pointing out their flaws, such as Jennifer’s lazy eye, she should be teaching Jennifer how to work with it, so she can improve,” says Jade. “She’s dissing Ashley for her dancing, but I actually think that for a print model, dancing is a great benefit. A dancer knows her body. They’re all about making themselves look beautiful.”

IsobellaJade(Arms)_photographer_Rod_ Dickinson

Jade does have something good to say about the show’s creative director, Jay Manuel (well, kind of), “Of all the people I’m watching on the show, it’s his voice I’m listening to the most,” Jade explains, “though he’s not as detailed as I would like in giving direction, since I think that whole photo experience could be a much better lesson for the viewer than it is.”

Jade dedicates herself to informing and supporting shorter girls who are interested in modeling, but don’t know how. And while she thinks the Internet is a great place to get information on petite modeling, she also thinks that it’s a dangerous place as well. “There are so many misconceptions out there and scams,” Jade warns. “The Internet has allowed any office anywhere to call themselves an agency and anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer.” She adds, “I’ve been there. I’ve had my mother see me half-naked. I’ve almost crossed the line into soft porn. I know what’s it like to be scammed.”

According to Jade, petite girls have to work harder to market themselves and use their assets to their advantage. “Just to get experience, do some parts modeling,” She advises. “Accessories are great for shorter girls. You might not be on a billboard, full body, but that experience can lead to bigger jobs.”

In last week’s “Top Model,” the photo shoot centered on the girls making themselves look taller. Jade says that petite models have to pay more attention to their limbs. “Always make sure there’s space between your limbs,” she says. “Your arms should be away from your body, because even a slight amount of space can make your upper body look thinner.” She also adds, “Don’t squeeze your legs either. If you’re sitting, sit on the edge of the seat or if you’re crossing your legs, lift one higher so there’s space between your legs.”

Jade says her most important tip for aspiring petite models has nothing to do with posing. “Having confidence in all situations,” she says, “is what makes you a great model.”

-- Jethro Nededog

Photos: Isobella Jade demonstrates how a petite model can lengthen her body in photos. Credit: Rod Dickinson