MICKI LE: This will be my fourth year. The first year was like a warm up with small jobs and agency searching. I started to get really serious about it probably two years ago when I was contacted by some agencies in larger markets such as Los Angeles (Hollywood), Scottsdale, and New York City. Since then, I've been busting my butt trying to keep up with it all. This year so far has been really hectic, I'm going to castings and doing shoots and shows almost every week. I love them (my specific agencies) so much and am so grateful that they believe in me, even though I'm short of the 5'9" mark so many agencies are obsessed with.
AVIVA: What inspired you to become a model?
ML: My mom. She inspires me to do everything. It started in sixth or seventh grade, she kept bringing up the idea of modeling to me. I finally took her advice, sent my photos and measurements to some agencies and BAM! Here I am! I think when I was younger, somewhere in the back of my mind I think I always wanted to be a model. When I was really young I remember sneaking into my moms bathroom and sitting on the counter putting on her makeup and walking around in her heels. As I got older, I took pictures all the time always trying to showcase my clothes and makeup.
AVIVA: What would describe your ideal shoot?
ML: My ideal shoot would probably consist of very dramatic makeup and hair, something out of the ordinary to wear, along the lines of something you'd see on vogue. Most importantly though, a beautiful location and a team of awesome dedicated people to make it all happen.
AVIVA: What accomplishment as a model are you most proud of?
ML: I'm really proud of the publications I've been able to be in. The magazine opportunities have contributed so much to my success and exposure as a model. But every opportunity I've been given has been a privilege and something I'm proud of. I'm currently planning a project for my International Baccalaureate project in High school that will be a huge fashion show to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. It will be a very big event sponsored by many well know people, organizations and companies. Along with the high fashion models from my agencies, I will be having terminally ill cancer girls, with a dream of modeling, walk in the show so that that may fulfill that one dream. A large amount, if not all the proceeds will go to the charity. If I can perfectly execute this, that will be my greatest and proudest achievement not just as a model but as a person.
AVIVA: What advice do you have for other young girls who would like to become models?
ML: There's so much someone needs to know about this topic. 1.You need to have the dedication for this. Modeling is so much more than being pretty. Dedication is vital for success as a model. 2.You got to make yourself known. Agencies, designers, and others of the fashion industry aren't going to find you out of the blue. Send yourself out to agencies and industry people. And 3. Avoid the scams and fakes! I can't stress this enough. I've worked with so many talented and legit people in the industry to know that if ANYONE asks you to pay for something that you don't feel is completely necessary you need to walk away. If you have what it takes to be a model you're agency or industry professionals will teach you what you need to know if necessary. A lot of "agencies" make you pay for classes and upon completion will "sign" you. Don't be fooled. Top agencies around the world don't force you to take classes, they will automatically sign you, even with no experience at all if you have what they're looking for. I've never paid for anything while modeling except the gas to travel and a portfolio book to keep my images in and my agencies have never asked me for any sort of payment. They get me GREAT jobs for designers and publications and the only money from me that they get is their 10% agency cut. I know so many girls who have been scammed and tricked into spending a lot of money just to be signed to a petty agency that gets them small jobs with little to no pay and I truly feel bad.
AVIVA: In your time as a model, what has been the biggest lesson (about the industry, etc) that you have learned?
ML: This industry is tough, you'll be told things you don't want to hear. They will reject and criticize you but that's how the modeling and fashion world works. I've learned that having the pretty face and figure isn't everything when being a model. You need tough skin, dedication, and discipline. I've been told to lose weight even being under 110 pounds, the prettier, taller girls have been chosen over me and I've faced a lot of rejection, but I don't let that get to my head and affect how I am as a model.
AVIVA: Do you have a funny/crazy/weird shoot story that you would like to share?
ML: I did a shoot a while back in an area with walls heavily spray painted and vandalized. Everything was going great so we decided to extend the shooting time to get a couple more shots. The area was pretty bad so police made a few trips around nightly. They pulled up and started telling me that destruction of state property was illegal and that the photographer should not support my "illegal actions" by photographing. I spent over 15 minutes trying to prove my innocence. The empty cans of spray paint near by didn't help my case.
AVIVA: Do you have any models that you admire and that you feel inspired by, and if yes who?
ML: I have so many but one of the more well known is Devon Aoki. She's beautiful and for being only 5'5, her success is amazing! You won't find any shorter girls like her who can be represented by top agencies around the world and be on the cover of publications like Vogue and Numero. She gives shorter models hope in breaking the strict high fashion modeling rules. I also admire Gemma Ward. She has such a unique look like Devon Aoki. Her list of clients is unbelievable like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Miu Miu, and my favorite, Hermes. I especially admire how she was the youngest girl to be featured in Vogue.
AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
ML: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed. Its been great being able to share my experience and thoughts on modeling. And for all the girls trying to make it in this industry, good luck!
I would like to thank Micki for her interview and I wish her all the best for many years to come.
NOTE: Images were submitted by Micki Le, and are copyright of the photographers who took them.