In a world of behemoth supermodels and long legged figurines who flood the runways and pages of high end print media, every now and then we have a girl that steps in and breaks the boundaries. Standing at a ‘giant’ 5’4, Anja K stepped into the modeling arena as what would seem like the underdog in a pit full of stallions. Competing in a world of women with height minimums starting at 5’9 and up, she shattered the stereotype that women couldn’t work and be successful if they were of ‘average height’.
I personally stand a mere 5’1, and have often dreamt of being just that little bit taller and leaner if I was stretched out. I could eliminate the struggle of balancing all night in six-inch heels, and I could avoid that general self-conscious notion of feeling ‘looked down on’.
However, when I first met Anja, not only was I overwhelmed by her beauty, but also, the way she exuded this magical aura, which was hard not to fall in love with. She was so humble and really made me feel like I was suddenly on the winning team.
Anja K gave hope to thousands of girls around the world (and many other short models) that anyone can be a model, and not just model, but be internationally successful and recognized. She has covered hundreds of huge publications and been the face of major campaigns like French Connection, The Kooples and Urban Outfitters. She truly is an inspiration, but the fashion world can be incredibly fickle and notorious for not exactly giving everyone a fair shot, so we decided to sit down with Anja and really delve into her journey. How she got to where she is and what the hurdles were along the way….
Interview with Anja K
by Sasha Benz
Did you always know you wanted to model?
Not at all. I always looked at magazines but never had the desire to become one of the girls in them, plus I always thought I was a little too short.
How and when did you decide you wanted to be a model?
I got discovered when I was 19 in Melbourne, Australia when I used to work as a receptionist at a hair salon by the beach. It was a pleasant surprise that someone found me inspiring and offered me to join the agency but I never took it too seriously.
Were you ever told you wouldn’t make it because of your height, and if so what do you have to say to those people now?
I was always told to embrace my height and make it my number one feature. Some people even called me “pocket rocket”.
How tall are you?
164cm – 5’4
What was your first memorable modeling experience?
My first ever editorial shoot for Grazia Australia with Simone Lekias and Mark Vassallo at Rottnest Island. It was my first glimpse into the world of a real model. All the hair and make up and beautiful clothes, I couldn’t hold my excitement in.
What was your first bad experience modeling?
Shooting bikinis in freezing cold. Modeling is not as glamorous as people think.
Did you ever feel ‘looked down on’ because of your height, and if so, how did it make you feel? Were you broken by it, or was it a reason to prove people wrong?
I guess people did “look down on” me but I never felt it. I’m proud of being small, of being “different,” of being me.
Do photographers generally take a different angle when shooting you?
Every photographer works differently. But we work together as a team. It’s almost like dancing.
Does your height ever create issues when you’re working with other, taller models?
I usually have to stand on a box when working with other models ha-ha.
How does it feel to have broken the stereotype of modeling, and giving other girls inspiration to succeed as shorter models?
Super proud; there are a few of us shorties out there and we are breaking the industry’s rules and it’s super exciting.
What’s hardest about being a model?
Being patient and positive.
In your opinion, what is the one main misconception about models?
That we are not interesting and we’re boring. So not true.
Highlight of your modeling career so far?
Shooting for Vogue and travelling all around the world.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Mmm nothing, I wouldn’t be me otherwise.
If you had a daughter, given the opportunity, would you support her if she wanted to become a model?
Yes of course. I will support my children to do whatever they like, as long as they finish school.
If you weren’t modeling, you would be….?
Not too sure….at the moment I have a dream of owning a flower shop or working with children.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Happy with my husband, a couple of kids and my animals.