When she was just a freshman in High School, Olivia Mignone had already known for years that she wanted to be a model. She practiced her strut, took good care of herself and was ready for the runway.
Except that she was too short.
“It was just something I’ve always been interested in,” Olivia said. “I was always obsessed with fashion magazine, TV shows, fashion shows.”
As a petite model, she started participating in charity fashion shows for about a year before “I found out that I was going to be 5-foot-1 or 5-foot-2 at the most,” she said. Disheartened, she considered shelving her dream. But after talking with an inspiring counselor, she decided she needed to take a different approach.
It was then that Olivia founded Shortstack Models, a company and self-esteem organization that helps girls who want to take a stab at the modeling industry –and who are no taller than 5-foot-6.
“I kinda thought it was a stupid idea at first, but then it clicked,” she said.
Since then, there have been about 23 girls in the program each year, and Olivia has been thrilled to see the changes being involved with the program has had on its members.
“It didn’t start as self-esteem program, but when you get a group of young girls together it just turned into that,” she said. Only two of the girls who have joined the program in the last five years had previous modeling experience, but some have found the courage to attend modeling schools and try to break into the industry as a result of their Shortstack experience.
As for Olivia, she has worked with a wide range of photographers and small clothing companies, and is still learning – at the same time her fellow Shortstack girls are.
After graduating from Cardozo High School, Olivia has taken time off to focus on Shortstack, her modeling and her future – perhaps in the management side of modeling. She plans to attend St. John’s University.
When not busy with the company or as a model, Olivia enjoys hanging out with friends on Bell Boulevard or at Bay Terrace, and also climbing trees.
“I’m actually a huge tomboy,” she admitted. “I’m not the type to go get my nails or hair done. I just do what I want to do.’