Monday, October 19, 2009

Model Life: The Journey of A Pint-Size Fashion Warrior by Isobella Jade and Illustrated by Jazmin Ruotolo
Isobella Jade, a student at the New York Institute of Technology, begins exploring the possibility of working as a lingerie model — despite her nontraditional height of 5'4”. A Google search leads her to ads posted on Craigslist, and soon Jade finds herself turning up at private apartments for model shoots that more often than not turn out to be seedy, disappointing, and sometimes downright dangerous. After she is sliced across the eyebrow in a fight with a sleazy so-called fashion photographer who will not respect her boundaries in a photo shoot, Jade decides that she's finished with answering ads on Craigslist. She’s determined to get professional, get an agent, and become a real model. Model Life reveals her glamorous and not-so-glamorous on-the-job experiences in New York City. From her first photo shoot and her close brushes with soft porn to her appearances in ad campaigns for national retailers and magazines, this height-challenged model shares her past in an edgy, illustrated exposé. The original story of the ultimate underdog, Model Life is a celebration of the self-discovery that comes with being self-made and the triumph of beating the odds.

Model Life is based on Isobella Jade's real life experiences with breaking into the modeling world. Though she is much shorter than the average model she is determined and finds that if she looks hard enough the work is out there for someone of her height. While trying to model she's also trying to balance college, friends and a boyfriend.

I thought the book was exciting, will this shoot turn into something huge for Isobella or will it be a dead end? Will she be able to balance school with modeling? I thought the illustrator easily got across scenes with so few frames. That's very important in graphic novels, to get across everything that is happening in one scene with just a few pictures.

I wish that the graphic novel was longer, I feel like it just brushed the surface of Isobella's journey and would have loved to have seen more examples of how she got from where she started in the beginning of the book to how it ended. I do love the way the graphic novel ended though, it got a big awwwww from me.

A few cosmetic things I noticed with the book, I found a few spelling errors (I was reading a final copy) and also noticed the contrast on some of the background photography to be almost non-existent so I had a hard time seeing in detail in the photography. Also the frame structure sometimes changed from page to page so I always had to pay close attention to which frame I was reading first. I loved the illustration style though, it really got Isobella's emotions across and had great movement on the page. And I also loved how some photography, handwritten journal entries and text messages were used to move the story forward.

While I wish the graphic novel explored more of Isobella's journey I thought it was a wonderful and can't wait to read her memoir, Almost 5'4" which I hope will expand on what I read in Model Life.

Model Life will be released on October 20th
Genre: Graphic Novel (Adult)
3.5/5 Stars
Review copy provided by publisher


  1. Sounds interesting, but I might like her memoir better than this graphic novel.

  2. Sounds cool. I would probably prefer to read about this subject, rather than to see it, however. :)


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