When you think of supermodels, this is probably the image that comes to mind. A tall, lanky girl with killer jawbones and an awesome sense of style. The kind of person who makes you want to put down that second slice of pizza you're reaching for just by looking at them. Or, actually, the first slice of pizza even.
Well, there's a new type of model in town, and she's breaking through the industry in a big way. Or a small way. You decide.
This is Dru Presta, a 21-year-old girl from Reno, Nevada, who is making waves in the fashion industry by breaking all those stereotypes that you're used to. Presta was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. She stands at three feet, four inches tall, which is just about a meter. That's a whole lot of difference from the Amazon warriors you're used to seeing. But that doesn't matter.
During high school, Presta said she was bullied because of her size. She talked about how her town of Reno, Nevada, is a very small place. "So, it's very small in diversity. They weren't quit accepting to the fact of something that was different. Something abnormal," she said.
Presta also talked about how as a child, she felt like she stuck out like a sore thumb. "They definitely rung me out really, hard. They teased and they made hurtful names," she explained. "When I was younger I used to deal with criticism in the worst way possible. I would completely lash out."
Presta is the only one in her family who has ever been born with dwarfism. "In my family I am the only dwarf and all of history with my family life. So, they were, kind of, learning as I was learning through my life. They did the best they could and they did a really good job," she said. "They don't want to shelter me, which they usually do with a lot of Little People because they feel scared to see their own child just go out in general."
If you thought it was difficult to find a pair of jeans that fit, imagine the ordeal the Presta has to face every time she goes shopping. "My fashion sense was nonexistent. I did what I could with off-the-peg clothes, doing my best to fix them. I'm not a designer, but I know how to sew. As a dwarf, I've had to stitch and adjust most of my clothes to get them to fit," she said.
After she graduated high school, Presta decided to make the move to LA. Once there, she joined a fashion company called Cur8able, a company that dresses people with disabilities. At Cur8able, Presta met her agent, Gail, and since then started her career as a model.
"Gail represents disabled people in the entertainment industry, so she finds modelling work for me that breaks down barriers and all the assumptions that people make about those who are disabled," says Presta of her agent. "I wanted to find a voice in fashion and to evolve with it. Fortunately, there are a lot of open-minded people who understand that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes."
Before Presta's first shoot ever, she was nervous. "I didn't really understand how to stand or look. But I soon gained confidence and that showed through the camera," she said of her experience. "It was like a different Dru was being exposed. I loved being in front of the camera."
Soon after her first shoot, Presta was doing music videos and shoots left and right. "I was the center of the video, so I had to radiate all my confidence at the camera, showing that a boss lady can be any size. I've learnt that being me is nothing to be ashamed of," she said. And that, everyone, is a lesson we can all take to the bank.
The fashion industry has caused Presta's sense of self worth to soar to an all time high. "I receive negative comments daily and I've been called a lot of interesting things," she said. "People always feel bigger typing these remarks from behind a screen. I'm not too hurt by it, because I know who I am and what my worth is."
"I decided to get into this field because I don't want anyone else to feel that they can't express themselves. I want my modeling photos to show that you can be sexy at any size. You can be six foot four or three foot four, like me, and still look cute," said Presta. And we would agree with everyone else in saying that she does.
"I want anybody to be able to go down that runway, even if you're rolling down it in your wheelchair or walking on crutches. And I want the fashion world to be able to see that we're just like everybody else," said Presta. "I break down barriers and challenge assumptions. Presta has said that her ultimate dream is to represent Kim Kardashian and Kanye on their kid's clothing line.
Presta is very active on Instagram, posting her beautiful pictures to showcase her modeling talent. "Hope you guys had a great Friday and hustled hard this week! I had meetings, made great new friends who only want to build each other up, and made new decisions on where I want to be in life. TIME TO FINISH SCHOOL AND RUN THIS WORLD ONE BEACH AT A TIME," she wrote.
Her Instagram acts as a diary of her photoshoots, and often come with tidbit of wisdom. "'Omg your so short and cute!' I’m just cute, no need to emphasize the obvious (Know your wording)," her caption reads. "If I had a dollar for every time someone called me short, I could pay for a semester abroad, a new car, and a mansion in cash."