Melodye Joy’s appearance is atypical.
Not as a woman merely walking down the street, or sitting at a café enjoying a meal. In fact, Joy blends in quite easily, admitting that her daily wardrobe comes from affordable and fashionable shops like Forever 21 and H&M.
However, her look is atypical in the demanding world of high-fashion. Standing at 5’2”, with naturally slumped shoulders, Joy is the furthest thing from ‘expected’ in the modeling industry.
But who said that defying commonalities and expectations is always futile? We’ve seen it all; 5’6” basket players, deaf musicians and color blind artists. These exceptions to the norm prove to us that determination and passion are the keys to success.
In the 1960s, supermodel Lesley Lawson—better known as ‘Twiggy’– entered the modeling world with a look that changed the perception of modeling forever. With her thin structure, short hair, androgynous features and big eyes, Twiggy would become the new face of fashion. A fresh standard was introduced during a time when modeling was focused on voluptuous and extremely feminine women such as Marilyn Monroe.
Expectations and desires in the modeling industry have steadily shifted throughout the decades. Currently, it is said that the average height for a female model is usually between 5’8” and 5’10.”
Joy admitted that her height tends to be an issue, especially in the areas of runway and high-fashion shoots. However, she refuses to let this bump in the road slow her down.
“I’ve had setbacks, and I’ve had some photographers deny me the chance because I’m not traditional,” she said. “But I’m going to continue pursuing it.”
Models under the height of 5’6” are generally considered to be ‘petite models’. Petite modeling is an industry which has been on the rise for years now. Some enthusiasts even argue that this form of modeling is the future.
“There can even be an advantage to being shorter,” Joy said. “The looks might favor to the shoot you’re doing.”
Joy certainly seems to be on her way. She has worked with numerous photographers in the areas of lifestyle, fashion/editorial, and implied/artistic photo shoots. She has worked with various designers such as Delise Ana and Daisy Viktoria, and with creative stylists such as Allison McGillicuddy.
Although runway modeling has made appearances here and there in her career, Joy has found that her forte lies in editorial modeling.
Typically, Joy’s rate is average– around $400 for spring and summer looks, though transportation and wardrobe expenses could boost the price.
Expanding her own portfolio as much as possible is a priority for Joy; however, she is also determined to help those she works with. Her goal is to provide photographers, designers and stylists with work that will benefit them greatly, as well.
“I always try to make sure everyone has gotten what they need out of the shoot,” she said.
Joy says that she loves being creative in her modeling, and enjoys working alongside those who bring color to life and throw fresh ideas onto the table. She’s especially a huge fan of working with costumes and couture.
“What I really enjoy is being more daring,” she said. “I like to work with people who aren’t afraid to put my hair up big and crazy and things like that. If it’s creative, I love it.”
Joy is also scheduled to appear in Petite Alternative magazine, a publication dedicated to petite models trying to make it in the industry.
Although the 27-year-old is climbing her way up and says she’s delighted with the path she has chosen, Joy admits that modeling was not always exactly what she wanted to do.
As a young and aspiring entertainer, it was clear to Joy that her home state, Texas would not provide her the opportunities she desired. This prompted Joy to relocate to California in 2005, where she planned to pursue a life in entertainment. Currently, she resides and works in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Growing up and continuing to the beginning of her college years, she dreamt of a life working in theater. Unfortunately being on stage with lights beamed on her was a dream she would decide was not meant for her, and would decide not to pursue.
However, Joy was determined to pursue a career in entertainment. The creativity of the industry was something she would otherwise feel incomplete without. After a friend suggested that she take up modeling, Joy slowly absorbed the idea. In 2007 she began modeling a little bit here in there. By 2009, at the age of 24, she had found her niche in fashion.
Joy believes that her prior experience in theater has enhanced her modeling abilities.
“I may not have the voice to project a particular statement,” she said. “But I think theater helped me with learning how to use my background. I’ve been able to act without acting.”
Some of Joy’s other interests include digital media, which she has a background in. She plans to eventually pursue film school in Los Angeles.
Joy fully believes that those aspiring towards a goal should go full force. Regardless of obstacles in their way, and negativity they may receive. She believes this is especially true for criticism in the petite modeling industry.
“Don’t take everyone’s opinions,” she said. “Take it as criticism, but don’t stop just because someone said stop.”